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 Bartholomeus Breenbergh  (1599 - c. 1657)

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Lived/Active: Netherlands      Known for: Italianate landscape, figure and genre painting

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Brtholomeus Breenbergh
from Auction House Records.
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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.

Bartholomeus Breenbergh was a Dutch Golden Age* painter of Italianate landscapes.

Little is known of his early life. In his famous three volume Schouburg, Arnold Houbraken mentioned him in his first volume with an entreaty to readers to write him with more news of Breenberg's biography. He had been told that Breenberg was born in Utrecht and had been a master of Cornelis van Poelenburgh, which he knew was impossible from the facts that he already had, namely "the birth of Poelenburg in 1586 and the death of Breenberg in 1660." Houbraken never received the information he requested, though he mentioned Breenberg again in his second volume in a list of 59 competent painters who were contemporaries of Abraham Bloemaert and Paulus Potter.

According to the Netherlands Institute for Art History, Breenberg was born in Deventer but moved away after the death of his father in 1607 with the rest of his family, probably to Hoorn where he was a contemporary of Jacques Waben and where he possibly received his first training, though his first teacher is now supposed to be "one of those many forgotten Amsterdam landscape painters of the 1610s".

His registered teachers are Pieter Lastman and Jacob Symonsz Pynas. Breenbergh is first registered as a painter on an archival record in 1619 in Amsterdam, though he possibly was established there earlier, and left for Rome in the same year. There he lived and worked with the Flemish painter Frans van de Kasteele, and was heavily influenced by another Fleming, the landscape painter Paul Bril. From 1623, however, he came completely under the spell of Italian landscapes by the somewhat older Cornelis van Poelenburgh—indeed, the works of Breenbergh and van Poelenburgh are sometimes very difficult of tell apart. He was also influenced by Nicolaes Moeyaert. Breenbergh in his turn influenced the French painter Claude Lorrain. Breenbergh was one of the founders of the Bentvueghels*, where he was nicknamed "het fret" (the ferret).

In 1630 Breenbergh returned to Amsterdam, where he married in 1633 and received a yearly wage of 60 pounds from the court of Charles I of England. He remained in Amsterdam until his death, where he made popular paintings and etchings of Italian buildings. His only registered pupil is Jan de Bisschop, who was his pupil in the 1640s until 1648.


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