Jacob Duck

The Wine Tester

1642
Oil on panel,44.7 x 72.2 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Jacob Duck, The Wine Tester

DUCK, Jacob
(1600 – buried 22/28 January 1667)

Jacob Duck was long confused with Jan le Ducq (1629/30-76). In 1621 he was listed as an apprentice portrait painter in the records of the Utrecht Guild of St Luke. His teacher was probably Joost Cornelisz. Droochsloot (1586–1666). The St Job's Hospital in Utrecht acquired a Musical Company by him in 1629. By 1630-32 he was a master in the guild. Like Pieter Codde, he painted guardroom scenes (kortegaerdjes), for example Soldiers Arming Themselves the Hoard of Booty (Paris, Musée du Louvre), in which the figures and their interactions are apparently full of underlying symbolic meaning. He also painted merry companies and domestic activities, such as Woman Ironing (Utrecht, Cent. Mus.), employing motifs perhaps symbolic of domestic virtue. He placed his figures in high, bare interiors in which the deep local colours of the foreground stand out well against the cool, greyish-brown background. Only a few of his etchings are known, depicting figures in contemporary dress, for example Young Gentleman with Broad Hat and Cloak or Virgin and Child with Magi. Between 1631 and 1649 Duck's presence is documented in Utrecht, Haarlem and Wijk bij Duurstede. Afterwards, and probably by 1656, he was living in The Hague. In 1661 he returned to Utrecht, where he died and was buried at the monastery of St. Mary Magdalene.