Dirck van Baburen

Prometheus Being Chained by Vulcan

Oil on canvas, 202 x 184 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Prometheus Being Chained by Vulcan, Dirck van Baburen

Dirck van BABUREN
Utrecht (?) c. 1594-5-Utrecht 1624

Baburen is the least known of the three artists active in Utrecht in the 1620s who practiced a style imported from Italy which was basically derived from Caravaggio and his Italian followers. As a young man Baburen studied at Utrecht under the competent academic artist Paulus Moreelse (1571-1638), who was himself to flirt with the Caravaggesque idiom. Baburen then spent eight years (c. 1612-1620) in Rome. The pictures painted during his stay there are almost totally dependent on Caravaggio. His Deposition in the church of San Pietro in Montorio in Rome is a pastiche of Caravaggio's own prototype which was then in St Peter's (now in the Pinacoteca Vaticana). On his return to Utrecht, Baburen shared a studio with the more inventive Ter Brugghen and he developed a more individual style. This enabled him to paint a brilliantly coarse Procuress (in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts) which Vermeer depicted twice in the backgrounds to his pictures: it appears in the London "Lady Seated at a Virginal" and in The Concert in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

Christopher Wright, The Dutch Painters: 100 Seventeenth Century Masters, London, 1978