Utrecht, 4 November 1592 – Utrecht, 27 April 1656
Dutch painter. Apprentice of A. Bloemaert in Utrecht, he stayed in Italy from 1610 to 1620 where he learned about the works of the Italian masters and by which he was influenced, especially by Caravaggio. His first paintings show the strength of the art of a young artist charmed by the naturalism of Merisi.
He contributed, after returning in his homeland, at teaching Caravaggio’s methods to other painters in the school of Utrecht.
In short time he became a great protagonist and his style reached a great mastery of the tools he had, especially in nocturnal representations (from which came the nickname “Gerard of the Nights”).
Soon he was wanted by prestigious collectors, like the marquis Vincenzo Giustiniani and the grand duke of Tuscany Cosimo II.
He worked in England and in Denmark, as a court painter, and in The Hague influenced a lot of the local decorators. His research of pure virtuosity didn’t care for moral implications.
He directed his studio in Utrecht and the one in The Hague, with 24 students.
One of the students of his painting school was Matthias Stomer, who worked a lot in Italy between Rome, Naples and Sicily.
He was the author of sacred paintings (Adoration of the Shepherds, Florence, Uffizi), genre scenes (Merry Company, Florence, Uffizi), and appreciated portraitist.