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Dutch Painting

The Messenger

Johannnes Verkolje
Oil on canvas, 59 x 53.5 cm.
Royal Cabinet of Paintings
Mauritshuis, The Hague
The Messenger, Johannes verkolje

Amsterdam 1650–1693 Delft

Johannes Verkolje was born in Amsterdam on February 9, I650, the son of the locksmith Benjamin Verkolje. According to Arnold Houbraken, the young artist was a pupil of Jan Andries Lievens (1644–1680), in whose studio he completed a number of unfinished mythological paintings by Gerrit Pietersz van Zijl. Little else is known about Verkolje's activities in Amsterdam. In 1672 he left his hometown to settle in Delft, most likely motivated by his engagement to the Delft resident Judith Voorheul, whom he would wed in October of that year. It has long been assumed that the couple eventuality had five children: three daughters, of whom Maria (b. 1674) and Johanna (b. 1687) are known by name, and two sons, Nicolaes (1673–1746) and Johannes (1683–1760), who were also to become painters under the tutelage of their father. However, records in the Delft municipal archives indicate that the couple had two more sons, one named Johannes, who was 19. In 1673, Verkolje entered the Guild of Saint Luke in Delft, in which he was to serve as headman between 1677 and 1688. He was buried in Delft on May 8, 1693. Besides his sons, Verkolje taught the painters Albertus van der Burch (b. 1672), Joan van der Spriet (active about 1700), Thomas van der Wilt (16S9–1733), and Willem Verschuuring (1659–1715).

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