Gerrit Dou

1613 - 1675

Gerrit Dou was one of the most famous of all Dutch painters until the beginning of the 19th century. He trained with Rembrandt, whose influence shows in his early works. His fame depended on his minutely painted scenes of everyday life, often represented in arched stone openings, like 'A Poulterer's Shop'; these are sometimes called 'niche' paintings.

Born in Leiden, the son of a glass engraver, Dou became a pupil of Rembrandt in 1628, probably remaining with him until Rembrandt's departure for Amsterdam in 1631/2. His earlier works are in the manner of the early Rembrandt, who also influenced his portraits. Dou was the founder of the so-called Fijnschilders group 'fine, or small-scale, meticulous painters' in Leiden. This group included Gottfried Schalcken and Frans van Mieris and his sons.

Dou was subsequently one of the founders and first members of the Leiden painters' guild (1648). He worked in Leiden until his death, declining an invitation from Charles II to visit England.