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 Ferdinand Bol  (1616 - 1680)

About: Ferdinand Bol


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Lived/Active: Netherlands      Known for: portrait and figure painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Ferdinand Bol
1616 (Dordrecht, Holland)
1680 (Amsterdam, Holland)



Often Known For
portrait and figure painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Ferdinand Bol, a Dutch portrait, history scene and still-life painter who was a student of Rembrandt van Rijn, was born in Dordrecht,  Holland in 1616.  He studied in Rembrandt’s studio around 1635, and this association had a strong influence on the early painting of Bol, but as he got older, his palette became increasingly lighter and distanced from his Master.

Bol was the son of a successful surgeon, and his early art training, before he studied with Rembrandt, was in his home town of Dordrecht.  The fact that in 1640, he was a legal witness to a document about Saskia, the wife of Rembrandt, suggests he was then a studio assistant and likely close to the family. 

By 1642, he set up his own studio in Amsterdam, and at first did painting that closely resembled Rembrandt's including portraits "with sitters posed by a window---and exotically costumed single figures." (Getty)  His paintings during this period so closely resembled Rembrandt that many of them later were confused with his work.  Then in 1650 he became more independent in style. 

He was highly successful and "no other painter in Amsterdam equaled him in receiving official commissions."  Likely the fact he was married to a woman of a prominent family helped.

For most of his professional life, he lived and worked primarily in Amsterdam, where he died in 1680.  Among his signifcant painting were local history subjects including the new town hall of Amsterdam.  In 1669, he quit painting, having married a very wealthy widow, and from that time the popularity of his work dropped off.

Sources include:
Ferdinand Bol, Rijksmuseum,

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