Friday, 17 August 2012

Jacob Backer and Portrait of Rebecca Schellingwou

'Portrait of Rebecca Schellingwou' (1644) by Jacob Backer; Amsterdam Museum

Today I found my painter quickly. Jacob Backer, born in 1608 and died on 17 August 1651, was a Dutch painter from the Golden Age. I have attached the link to the Dutch Wikipedia page which mentions the 17th of August as the date of his death, whereas the English page says the 27th. I'm going to stick to the Dutch page because I can't be bothered looking for another painter for today because of conflicting dates. I have seen an exhibition on Backer at Museum Het Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam (the exhibition ran from 29 November 2008 till 22 February 2009) and really liked it. Amongst the paintings that were on display were two masterpieces from the collection of the Amsterdam Museum, formerly Amsterdam Historical Museum: the portraits of Bartholomeus Breenbergh and Rebecca Schellingwou who were husband and wife. I especially liked the painting of Rebecca Schellingwou. The colours are beautiful and Backer is a master in painting fabrics. He was mainly active in Amsterdam and had a succesful career. He had studied in Leeuwarden and was a fellow student of Govert Flinck. Together they went to Amsterdam where Flinck alone studied under Rembrandt. It was believed, incorrectly, that Backer also had studied with Rembrandt. There is little known of his life. He never married, never painted a landscape, never was the subject of any gossip or scandal. He worked extremely fast and his work can be characterised by a vivid use of colour. He was one of the most famous painters in Amsterdam at the time and he died when he was in his early forties.

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