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Dutch Painting

Ambulatory of the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, with the tomb of Willem I

Gerard Houckgeest
c. 1651
Oil on panel, 66.5 × 77.5 cm.
Mauritshuis, The Hague
Gerard Houckgeest

The Hague 1660–Delft 1661

Dutch painter who worked in Delft and specialized in church interiors. He was probably a van Bassen pupil and began as a painter of imaginary church interiors and renaissance buildings. Most likely he was in England during the 1630s; Charles I owned at least five 'prospectives' by or partly by him. His fictive Palace Interior of 1635, his earliest existing dated painting, is still at Hampton Court. Houckgeest is documented in Delft in the 1640s. His first known depiction of an actual church interior is his unexpected New Church in Delft with the Tomb of Willem the Silent, dated 1650, now at Hamburg. During the following 4-5 years he painted about half-dozen pictures of both the New and Old Church of Delft using the innovative diagonal perspective of the Hamburg painting. After these radical innovations he did not remain in Delft for very long. By 1651 he is recorded as a resident of Steebergen, a town about forty kilometres south of Rotterdam, and two or three years later he settled in Bergen op Zoom in North Brabant.

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