Honthorst, Gerard

, a celebrated artist, called also Gerardo Dalle Notti, from his principal subjects,

| was born at Utrecht in 1592, and was a disciple of Abraham Bloemavt; but completed his studies at Home, where he continued several years, employed there by persons of the first rank, and particularly by prince Justiniani. He imitated the style of Caravaggio, with whose vivid tone and powerful masses of light and shade, he attempted to combine correctness of outline, refinement of forms, graceful attitudes, and that dignity which ought to be the characteristic of sacred subjects. In this he often succeeded. His subjects are generally night-pieces as large as life, and illuminated by torch or candle-light. Among his numerous pictures, that of our Saviour before the Tribunal of Pilate, in the gallery Justiniani, for energy, dignity, and contrast, is the most celebrated. Soon after his return to his own country he visited London, and obtained the favour of king Charles I. by several grand performances and portraits; especially by one allegorical picture, in which he represented the portraits of the king and queen, in the characters of two deities, and the portrait of the. duke of Buckingham in the character of Mercury, introducing the liberal arts to that monarch and his consort. For that composition, which was well drawn and extremely well coloured, the king presented him with three thousand florins, a service of plate for twelve persons, and a beautiful horse; and he had afterwards the honour to instruct the queen of Bohemia, and the princesses her children, in drawing.

His pencil is free and firm, and his colouring has a great deal of force, although it often is not pleasing, by a predominancy of the yellow and brown tints; yet undoubtedly Honthorst would have been an excellent painter if he had known how to give more grace and more correctness to his figures. At his return from London to Holland he adorned the pleasure houses of the prince of Orange with many poetical subjects, which he executed in fresco as well as in oil; but he principally was employed in painting portraits, which are described as having good expression, and extraordinary life and force, by their broad masses of light being contrasted by strong shadows. He died in 1660, aged sixty-eight. His brother, William, was born at Utrecht in 1604, and learned the art of painting from Abraham Bloemart. The portraits which he painted were very much esteemed, and are far superior to his historical subjects, which are in no degree equal to those of | Gerard, although they are frequently sold for the works of that master. He died in 1683, aged seventy-nine. 1


Pilkington.—Walpole’s Anecdotes.—Rees’s Cyclopædia.