Gaspar Netscher - Encyclopedia

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GASPAR NETSCHER (1639-1684), German portrait and genre painter, was born at Heidelberg in 1639. His father died when he was two years of age, and his mother, fleeing from the dangers of a civil war, carried him to Arnheim, where he was adopted by a physician named Tullekens. At first he was destined for the profession of his patron, but owing to his great aptitude for painting he was placed under an artist named de Koster, and, having also studied under Ter Borch, he set out for Italy to complete his education there. Marrying, however, at Liege, he settled at Bordeaux, and toiled hard to earn a livelihood by painting those small cabinet pictures which are now so highly valued on account of their exquisite finish. After removing to The Hague, he turned his attention to portrait-painting, and in this branch of his art was more successful. He was patronized by William III., and his earnings soon enabled him to gratify his own taste by depicting musical and conversational pieces. It was in these that Netscher's genius was fully displayed. The choice of these subjects, and the habit of introducing female figures, dressed in glossy satins, were imitated from Ter Borch; they possess easy yet delicate pencilling, brilliant and correct colouring, and pleasing light and shade; but frequently their refinement passes into weakness. The painter was gaining both fame and wealth when he died prematurely in 1684. His sons Constantyn (1668-1722), and Theodorus (1661-1732), were also painters after their father's style, but inferior in merit.

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