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Abraham Bloemaert


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(b Gorinchem, 25 Dec. 1566; d Utrecht, 13 Jan. 1651).

Dutch figure and landscape painter and engraver, the son of a sculptor and architect, Cornelis I Bloemaert (c.1540–93). He spent most of his life in Utrecht, where for many years he was the leading painter and an outstanding teacher. Both, Honthorst, Terbrugghen, and virtually all the Utrecht painters of the period who attained any kind of distinction trained with him. Bloemaert was a good learner as well as a good teacher and rapidly assimilated the new ideas his pupils brought back from Italy. Early in his career he was one of the leading Dutch exponents of Mannerism (The Miracle of the Loaves, 1593, NG, Edinburgh); in the 1620s he had a Caravaggesque phase; and in his later years he adopted some aspects of the classicism of the Carracci. His most original works are perhaps his landscape drawings, which are more naturalistic than his paintings. Many of his drawings were etched and published by his son Frederick (c.1616–90) in an instructional book for the use of art students (it first appeared c.1650 and continued to be reprinted into the 19th century). Bloemaert had three other painter sons, who were likewise his pupils: Hendrick (c.1601–72), Cornelis II (c.1603–c.1684), and Adriaen (c.1609–66).

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