Backer, Jacob

, an eminent portrait and historical painter, was born at Harlingen, in 1609, but spent the greatest part of his life at Amsterdam and by all the writers on this subject, he is mentioned as an extraordinary painter, particularly of portraits, which he executed with strength, spirit, and a graceful resemblance. He was remarkable for an uncommon readiness of hand, and freedom of pencil and his incredible expedition in his manner of painting appeared in the portrait of a lady from Haerlem, that he painted at half-length, which was begun and finished in one day, though he adorned the figure with rich drapery, and several ornamental jewels. He also painted historical subjects with good success and in that style there is a fine picture of Cimon and Iphigenia, which is accounted by the connoisseurs an excellent performance. In designing academy figures, his expression was so just, and his outline so correct, that he obtained the prize from all his competitors and his works are still bought up at very high prices in the Low Countries. In the collection of the elector Palatine, there is an excellent head of Brouwer, painted by this master and in the Carmelites’ church at Antwerp is preserved a capital picture of the Last Judgment, which is well designed and coloured. Backer died at the age of 42, in 1651, but according to Descarnps, in 1641, at the age of 33. 2


Ibid, —Moreri.