The Portrait Society | Gérard de Lairesse

16/10/1997 | 20th centuryCharcoal and acrylic on canvas50 x 40 cm

Gérard de Lairesse was a painter, draughtsman and engraver from Liège. He first studied and worked in his home town, moved to Hertogenbosch in 1664 and settled in Amsterdam two years later. In Amsterdam, de Lairesse first entered the service of the trader Gerrit Uylenburgh, but soon opened his own workshop. His patrons and commissioners came from Amsterdam's patrician class. De Lairesse was especially known for his complex allegories and mythological scenes. From 1672, he also worked for Willem III of Orange-Nassau, the governor of the Netherlands, for whom he produced allegorical peace paintings and series of engravings. Because of their masterly technique, his etchings, especially those with religious subjects, were very popular with collectors. Gérard de Lairesse suddenly went blind in 1690 and could no longer work as an artist. He began to lecture on art, which became the basis of his art-theoretical publications on the art of drawing and painting. These books were designed for both amateurs and aspiring painters. By the middle of the 19th century, de Lairesse's paintings and engravings were very popular and sold at high prices. The self-portrait that served Roland Schauls as a model for this portrait has been in the collection of the Uffizi since 1688.

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