Gerard van Honthorst, trained by Abraham Bloemaert, left Utrecht for Italy around 1610. Heavily influenced by Caravaggio but also by Ludovico and Annibale Carracci, he would become known in Rome as ‘Gherardo delle Notti’ for his candlelit scenes with strong chiaroscuro effects.
In Rome, Honthorst lived in the Palazzo Giustiniani together with other artists admired by the patrons Benedetto and Vincenzo Giustiniani. The artist was one of the most popular Dutch Caravaggisti in Rome. Cardinal Scipio Borghese became an important patron, while he also received commissions from several wealthy families, including the Barberini family. Van Honthorst created works for churches like Santa Maria della Vittoria and Santa Maria della Scala.
He returned to Utrecht around 1620 where he continued painting with a focus on portraiture and merry company scenes. Van Honthorst acquired a name in court circles as a portrait painter, and contributed to the decoration of the Orange Hall in Huis ten Bosch in The Hague. (NL)
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J.R. Judson, R.E.O. Ekkart,Gerrit van Honthorst 1592-1656, Doornspijk 1999
G. Leone & A.M. Pedrocchi, in: Flemish masters and other artists. Foreign artists from the Heritage of the Fondo Edifici di Culto del Ministero dell'Interno, Rome (Palazzo Ruspoli) 2008, pp. 96-104
G. Papi, 'Novità sul soggiorno Italiano di Gerrit Honthorst', Paragone 41 (January-March 1990), pp. 47-68
D.P. Weller, L.J. Slatkes, R. Ward,Sinners & Saints. Darkness and Light. Caravaggio and his Dutch and Flemish Followers, Raleigh (North Carolina Museum of Art), Dayton (Dayton Art Institute) 1998-1999, pp. 127-142