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Bramer, Leonaert

Delft, 1596 - Delft, 1674

The son of Hendrick Bramer and Christynge Jans, nothing is known about his training. The first documented biographical fact is the journey he started through France and Italy in 1614. He resided in Arras and Amiens in 1614 and in Aix-en-Provence in 1616 on his way to Rome, where he lived between 1619 and 1627 (although not continuously). Cornelis de Bie states that he spent time in Venice, Florence, Mantua, Siena, Bologna, Naples and Padua. According to Filippo Baldinucci, when in Rome he stayed in the palace of Mario Farnesio (1548–1619), Duke of Latera, nephew of Pope Paul III and a prominent patron of the arts. There, he was one of the founding members of the Benvueghels, an association of northern European painters working in Rome. His alias in this association was Nestelghat (fidget). In 1628 he returned to Delft, where he served as president of the Guild of Saint Luke on various occasions (1654, 1655, 1660, 1664 and 1665). From the 1650s onwards, he received numerous commissions to decorate public buildings, which are unfortunately barely preserved. He never married. He was buried in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, and his heirs did not make the usual donation to the Council of Charity, evidence that he died in financial ruin.
In Italy, he was nicknamed ‘Leonardo della Notte’ due to his predilection for nocturnal scenes with dramatic contrasts in light that reveal the influence of Caravaggio (1571–1610) and, above all, of Adam Elsheimer (1578–1610). He was a genre and history painter. Only one of his seascapes is known (Kunsthalle in Hamburg) and none of his landscapes survive, even though inventories made during his time in Delft record at least four of them. His oldest extant work is The Fall of Simon Magus, signed and dated 162[3?] (Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon) (Dijon, Musée des Beaux-Arts) (Posada, T., Pintura Holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado, 2009, pág. 252).

Artworks (4)

Hecuba' s Grief
Oil on copperplate, Ca. 1630
Bramer, Leonaert
Abraham and the three Angels
Oil on panel, Ca. 1640
Bramer, Leonaert
Christ among the Doctors
Oil on panel, 1635 - 1636
Bramer, Leonaert
The Return of the Prodigal Son / The Good Samaritan
Indian ink wash, White lead, Pencil, Pencil, Indian ink on dark toned paper, wallpaper, laid paper, Ca. 1635
Bramer, Leonaert


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