Pieter de Hooch - The Master of Light

Image Courtesy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pieter_de_Hooch

Illuminating the interiors of mundane domestic life the paintings of Dutch golden age painter Pieter De Hooch are remarkable for their masterful use of light. Baptized in Rotterdam on 20 December 1629 the genre painter was famous for sober indoor scenes with an open doorway. Eldest of the five siblings De Hooch was the contemporary of Jan Vermeer and a member of the Delft Guild of St. Luke, from 1654 to 1657. Sharing affinity with Jan Vermeer's theme and style De Hooch developed a great skill in light with relation to different surfaces,  refined the effect of enclosures and apertures on light intensity,  improvised the variation of tones and mastered the complex arrangement of spatial units and linear perspective.

Studying art in Haarlem under the landscape painter Nicolaes Berchem Hooch had a special affinity for organizing figures in interiors. In the beginning of his carrier in 1650 the young painter worked for a linen-merchant and art collector Justus de la Grange in Rotterdam. Hooch accompanied the merchant  on his travel to The Hague, Leiden and Delft and ultimately settled in Delft where he married to Jannetje   van der Burch and created the best works of his life.

Generally inspired by his  own family and surroundings Hooch paintings exhibited a sophisticated and delicate treatment of light. Instead of objects Hooch was interested in people and their relationships to each other. Combining the figures with interior geometry he left his rooms empty of any extra objects that didn't support the scene.

From the early scenes of soldiers and peasants in ‘The merry drinker c.1650’ and ‘The empty glass, c.1652 to opulent interiors as in ‘Merry Company, c.1663’ Hooch works excelled his style in genre paintings. Embellishing the walls of world famous museums Hooch's art scattered all around the globe.

Living in Amsterdam in the last decade of his life the artist was distressed at the death of his wife and his style deteriorated in quality. Leaving his mark in Delft school tradition the master of light died on 24 March 1684.

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