Samuel van Hoogstraten Biography1627-1678
Dutch Baroque Painter
Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten was first a pupil of his father while living at Dordrecht until about 1640. On the death of Dirk van Hoogstraten, his father, he changed his residence to Amsterdam and entered the school of Rembrandt. A short time later, he started as a master and painter of portraits. He then set out on a round of travels which took him (1651) to Vienna, Rome and London, finally retiring to Dort. There he married in 1656, and held an appointment as provost of the mint.
A sufficient number of Van Hoogstraten's works has been preserved to show that he strove to imitate different styles at different times. In a portrait dated 1645, currently in the Lichtenstein collection in Vienna, he imitates Rembrandt. He continued in this vein until as late as 1653 when he produced the wonderful figure of a bearded man looking out of a window. This, one of the more characteristic examples of his manner, is exhibited in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
A view of the Vienna Hofburg, dated 1652, displays his skill as a painter of architecture. In contrast, a piece at the Hague representing a "Lady Reading a Letter as she crosses a Courtyard" (Mauritshuis) or a "Lady Consulting a Doctor," (in the Rijksmuseum at Amsterdam), imitates de Hooch. One of his last remaining works is a portrait of Mathys van den Brouck, dated 1670.
Hoogstraten also employed his skill with perspective to construct "peepshow" boxes. For example, A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House is a box with convincing 3D views of the interior of a Dutch house when viewed through peepholes on either end of the box.
Van Hoogstraten's fame derives from his versatile career as poet, painter and zealous social climber. Besides directing a mint, he devoted some time to literary labours. His 'magnum opus' is a book on painting, the Introduction to the Academy of Painting (Inleyding tot de Hooge Schoole der Schilderkonst, Rotterdam 1678) which is in size and theoretical scope one of the most ambitious painting treatises published in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century. It covers issues such as pictorial persuasion and illusionism, the painter's moral standards and the relation of painting to philosophy, referring to various ancient and modern authors. While reacting to international, mainly Southern European ideas on painting which Van Hoogstraten may have encountered during his travels, the treatise also reflects contemporary talk and thought on art from Dutch studios.
Van Hoogstraten also composed sonnets and tragedies. We are indebted to him for some of the familiar sayings of Rembrandt. He was an etcher too, and some of his plates are still preserved. His portrait, engraved by himself at the age of fifty, still exists.