Backhuysen, Ludolph

, a very celebrated Dutch painter, was born in 1631, in the city of Embden his father was secretary of state, and his grandfather had held a post in administration. The first sixteen years of his life were employed in studies suitable to the intentions of his family, which were to breed him up to commerce, and for that purpose he was sent to Amsterdam, where it would appear he first caught an inclination for painting. The earliest instructions he received in this art were from Albert Van Everdingen, but he acquired his principal know r Jedge by frequenting the painting-rooms of different great masters, and observing their various methods of touching and colouring. One of these masters was IJenry Dubbels, whose knowledge of his art was very extensive, and who was very communicative of what he knew. From him Backhuysen obtained more real benefit, than from all the painters of his time, and he had not availed himself long of such an instructor before he became the subject of general admiration, so that even his drawings were sought after, and one of his earliest performances was sold for one hundred florins. It was observed of him, that while he was painting, he would not suffer even his most intimate friends to have access to him, lest his fancy might be disturbed, and the ideas he had formed in his mind might be | interrupted. He studied nature attentively in all her forms in gales, calms, storms, clouds, rocks, skies, lights and shadows and he expressed every subject with so sweet a pencil, and such transparence and lustre, as placed him above all the artists of his time in that style, except the younger Vandervelde. It was a frequent custom with Backhuysen whenever he could procure resolute mariners, to go out to sea in a storm, in order to store his mind with grand images, directly copied from nature, of such scenes as would have filled any other head and heart with terror and dismay and the moment he landed, he always impatiently ran to his palette, to secure those incidents of which the traces might, by delay, be obliterated. He perfectly understood ttie management of the chiaro-scuro, and strictly observed the truth of perspective. His works may be easily distinguished by an observant eye, from the freedom and neatness of his touch, from the clearness and natural agitation or quiescence of the water, from a peculiar tint in his clouds and skies, and also from the exact proportions of his ships, and the gracefulness of their positions.

For the burgomasters of Amsterdam he painted a picture, with a multitude of large vessels, and a view of the city at n distance, for which they gave him thirteen hundred guilders, and a considerable present. This picture they afterwards presented to the king of France, who placed it in the Louvre. No painter was ever more honoured by the visits of kings and princes than Backhuysen the king of Prussia was one of the number; and the czar Peter took delight to see him paint, and often endeavoured to draw, after vessels which he had designed. Backhuysen was remarkably assiduous and yet it seems astonishing to consider the number of pictures which he finished, and the exquisite manner in which they are painted. He is said to have had some taste for poetry, and such was his industry that at his leisure hours he taught writing in the families of the principal merchants. He was the greater part of his life much afflicted with the stone and gravel, yet reached a very advanced age, as his death did not happen till 1709. Strutt places him among his engravers, as having published some etchings of the Y, a small arm of the sea near Amsterdam. 1

1 D’Aigenvililltr. -Pilkington, -—Strutt.