This site is made by Judith van Gent.
Van Gent worked on a research project ‘Bartholomeus van der Helst (c. 1613-1670): a Study of his Life and Work’ (NWO (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek). Aim of the study was a monograph on this Amsterdam portrait-painter. Important issues were the composition of a catalogue of the artist’s paintings, based on stylistic analysis, provenance and iconography, and the definition of the position of his work in the Amsterdam portraiture of the seventeenth century.
She finished the research in 2011 with a PhD. In october 2011 her book on Van der Helst was published
Bartholomeus van der Helst was born in Haarlem around 1613, as a son of a innkeeper. He was probably the pupil of Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy in Amsterdam, however, proof of this relationship is lacking.
He became a very succesfull portrait painter, mainly of the patriciate of Amsterdam. His detailed, tasteful, and slightly flattering likenesses appealing more to the fashionable burghers than the master’s work, which was becoming more individual and introspective. Van der Helst’s influence during his lifetime was great. His reputation endured into the next century and as late as 1782 Reynolds wrote that van der Helst’s Banquet of the Amsterdam Civic Guard in Celebration of the Peace of Münster ‘is, perhaps, the first picture of portraits in the world’, adding that it as far exceeded his expectations as Rembrandt’s Night Watch fell below them.
Click here for a selection of his work in public collections.
Other Van der Helst project
From May 19th – June 20th 1999 was in the Amsterdam quarter De Pijp in and around the Van der Helst Straat and the Van der Helstplein. This manifestation ‘Van der Helst op straat’ consisted of several multi-media projects in which the work by Bartholomeus van der Helst figure or was the source of inspiration.
See the website of the initiator of this project: Frederieke Jochems