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Dutch Painting

A Woman Reading a Letter and a Woman Sweeping

Pieter Jansessens Elinga
Oil on canvas, 83.7 x 100 cm.
Stadelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main
A Woman Reading a letter and a Woman Sweeping, Pieter Jansessens Elinga

ELINGA, Pieter Janssens
Bruges 1623–before 1682

Born on August 18, 1623, Pieter Janssens Elinga was the son of a painter in Bruges, Flanders. Although he probably first studied with his father, Gijsbrecht Janssens, his name does not appear in the register of the local painters' guild. Following, the death of his first wife, Beatrix van der Mijlen, an inventory was drawn up of Janssens Elinga's possessions in Rotterdam on August 22, 1653. The inventory was ordered by the Chamber of Orphans to protect the interests of the couple's child, indicating that the artist had financial difficulties. Janssens Elinga subsequently moved to Amsterdam, where a person of his name but whose profession was given as musician became a citizen on March 16, 1657. An inventory of the possessions of Anthonie Pannekoeck of Amsterdam included a vanitas painting by Janssens Elinga in 1661. By September 1662 the artist-actor Janssens Elinga and his second wife, Jurina Bos, were living on the Breestraat, the street where Rembrandt had lived until 1658. The couple had four children. Jurina was listed as a widow on September 24, 1682.

Janssens Elinga was active as a painter of both interior genre scenes with perspective effects and still lifes. The former are clearly influenced by the art of Pieter de Hooch and in the eighteenth and nineteen centuries were often misattributed to him. However, there is no evidence to suggest that Janssens Elinga or any other artist was de Hooch's pupil.

Love Letters: Dutch Genre Painting in the Age of Vermeer, Peter Sutton

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