Hooch, Pieter De
Dutch painter of domestic scenes from Dutch life. He was born in Rotterdam. From 1654 he was a member of the Guild of Saint Luke at Delft, and there he painted his finest works. He was noted for his paintings of distinctive interiors, in which the typical effect is strong sunlight falling into a room and illuminating a standing figure, such as a maidservant, or a family group seated at a table. In these works, enhanced by sharp patterns of golden light, de Hooch captured the simple, expressive gestures of people occupied with their daily chores. In the painting of genre interiors (see Genre Painting), de Hooch ranks second only to his great Dutch contemporary, Jan Vermeer.
Pieter De Hooch worked in Amsterdam during his later years. Although his subject matter showed little change, his artworks of this period are generally considered less noteworthy than his superb Delft productions. Pieter De Hooch's best artworks are images of precision and order, in which middle-ground doorways open into well-lit background interiors, and the composition is a careful harmony between vertical and horizontal elements. Examples of his interior scenes include The Pantry (1658?, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) and The Card Players (1658, Buckingham Palace, London), both of which show some similarity to the work of Vermeer. Pieter De Hooch also painted courtyards, such as Courtyard of a House in Delft (1658, National Gallery, London).
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