Jan Lievens, Leiden 1607 - 1674 Amsterdam
WOMAN EMBRACED BY A MAN, MODELLED BY THE YOUNG REMBRANDT
Oil on canvas
38¼ by 33⅛ in.; 97 by 84 cm.
Jan Lievens (24 October 1607 – 4 June 1674) was
a Dutch painter, usually associated with Rembrandt, working in a similar style.
According to Arnold Houbraken, Jan was the son of a tapestry worker, and was
trained by Joris Verschoten. He was sent to Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam at
about the age of 10 for two full years. After that he began his career as an
independent artist, at about the age of 12 in Leiden. He became something of a
celebrity because of his talent at such a young age. This attracted the
attention of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, around 1620, who bought a
life-size painting of a young man reading by the light of a turf-fire. He gave
this painting in turn to the English Ambassador, who presented it to James I.
This was the reason why, when Lievens was 31, he was invited to the British
court. When he returned from England he settled in Antwerp, where he married
Suzanna Colyn de Nole, the daughter of the sculptor Michiel Colyns. In this
period he won many commissions from royalty, mayors, and city halls.
collaborated and shared a studio with Rembrandt van Rijn from about 1626 to
1631. Their competitive collaboration, represented in some two dozen paintings,
drawings and etchings, was intimate enough to cause difficulties in the
attribution of works from this period. Lievens showed talent for painting in a
life-size scale, and his dramatic compositions suggest the influence of the
Caravaggisti. Lievens was more inventive, yet less expressive than Rembrandt.
The two men split in 1631, when Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam and Lievens to
England. In 1656 Rembrandt still owned paintings by his former friend.
time in England Lievens painted a portrait for Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of
Arundel, and became influenced by the works of Anthony van Dyck. Lievens worked
in Antwerp, and cooperated with Adriaen Brouwer. After being a court painter in
The Hague and Berlin, he returned to Amsterdam in 1655. After his first wife
died he married a sister of Jan de Bray in 1648. After 1672, the Rampjaar
Lievens had increasing financial difficulties and his family voided all claims
of inheritance on his death due to his debts. More on Jan Lievens
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