Something over four hundred years ago, Govert Flinck (1615-1660) was born in Cleves and Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680) was born in Dordrecht – they were contemporaries. After their initial schooling as painters, when they were about twenty, the tow talented artists moved to Amsterdam, where they finished their training under Rembrandt, who at that time was at the height of his fame. Even though Flinck and Bol soon ranked alongside the most successful painters in Amsterdam, and even surpassed Rembrandt in that regard, they remained in their famous teacher’s shadow in the centuries that followed. To honour Govert Flinck and Ferdinand Bol, the Rembrandt House Museum and the Amsterdam Museum came together to produce a major double exhibition and this book, in which the two artists are portrayed and compared.
As advanced students, they took part in the production process in the workshop and in so doing mastered Rembrandt’s style. After they had set themselves up as artists in their own right, Flinck and Bol still worked in Rembrandt’s style for some years, before adopting a different, more classicist approach. Flinck emerged as a true virtuoso who worked in different painting styles, depending on the commission. Bol stuck to what Rembrandt had taught him for longer and did not develop a brighter palette and a smoother style until around 1650. Bol, moreover, was the only one of Rembrandt’s pupils to produce a substantial graphic oeuvre, amounting to twenty or so skilfully etched prints.
This book chronicles the latest insights into Govert Flinck and Ferdinand Bol, in longer essays and focus contributions on individual themes that present a fascinating insight into their life and work: from their training with Rembrandt to their great successes as independent artists excelling at large history paintings and elegant portraits. The essays explore their exceptional artistic talent and examine the family connections and social networks that were crucial to their success. Bol and Flinck were awarded prestigious commissions – from private individuals and rulers, and from city institutions including the civic guard and the town hall. Fifteen paintings by Bol and Flinck were restored especially for the exhibition. Words and images combine to make this book a valuable addition tot art-lovers’ libraries.