Netscher, Gaspard

, an eminent painter, was born in 1639, at Prague in Bohemia. His father dying in the Polish service, in which he was an engineer, his mother was constrained, on account of the catholic religion, which | she professed, to depart suddenly from Prague with her three sons, of whom Gaspard was the youngest* At some leagues from the town she stopped at a castle, which wafc afterwards besieged; and Gaspard’s two brothers were famished to death. The mother, apprehensive of the same fate, found means to escape in the night-time out of the castle, and with her son in her amis reached Arnheim, ifo Guelderland, where she met with some relief to support herself and breed op her son. A physician, named Tutkens, a man of wealth and humanity, became the patron of Netscher, and put him to school, with the view of educating him to his own profession; but Netscher’s decided turn for the art he afterwards practised, induced his patron to place him with a glazier to learn to draw, this being the only person at Arnheim who could give him any instructions. As soon as tie had iearned all this man could teach, he went to Deventer, to a painter, whose name was Gerhard Terburg, an able artist, and burgomaster of the town, under whom he acquired a great command of his pencil and, going to Holland, worked there a long time for the picture-merchants, who, abusing his easiness, paid him very little for his pieces, which they sold at a good price.

The subjects he chose, when his talents were matured^ were generally conversation-pieces, with figures selected from among the better ranks of his countrymen. These, while he touched and finished them with great neatness, he treated with a breadth unknown till then among the Flemish painters. He finished all the parts of his pictures with great perfection, and the most characteristic imitation of nature. The rich siik and sattin dresses of his figures, the gold and silver utensils, carpets, &c. &c. which he introduced in his compositions, are exquisitely wrought, and with uncommon brilliancy and lustre. He painted many portraits of a small size, but they exhibit too much of the restraint which belongs to portrait painting. He was invited to England by sir William Temple, and recommended to the king, Charles II. bat did not stay long here. Ver* tue mentions five of his pictures; one, a lady and dog, with his name to it: another of a lady, her hands joined, oval, on copper; the third, lord Berkeley of Stratton, his lady, and a servant, in one piece, dated 1676. The others, lord Orford says, were small ovals, on copper, of king William and queen Mary, painted just before the | Revolution, which, however, is impossible, as Netscher died four years before that event. These must have been the production of his son, Theodore. Gaspard died in 1684.1