Govert (or Govaert) Teunisz. Flinck (Kleef, January 25, 1615 – Amsterdam, February 2, 1660) was a Dutch painter of the Dutch Golden Age, mainly portraits, historical works and genres. He was one of Rembrandt’s most famous pupils from 1633 to 1636. Initially, his work was for a Rembrandt as and even sold, but in the 1940s, Flinck developed his own more classicistic painting of contemporary style .
Govert Teuniszoon Flinck was born in Kleef, behind Nijmegen, in the Rhine. Arnold Houbraken, a famous biographer of Dutch painters, tells in detail how the young Flinck refused to be interested in the silk trade, where his father liked to have trained him. Flinck was only drawn to drawing. Only when Lambert Jacobsz., Who was the baptist preacher and painter, once preached in Kleef, became his parents by this Jacobsz. Convinced that their son could best be painter because … as he came across him too, that his son Son along with him to Leeuwarden, in his house and under his view, would teach the Art.
In Leeuwarden, Jacob Backer was also in the doctrine of Lambert Jacobsz. Houbraken tells us that the two left Amsterdam, around 1633. Flinck was in Rembrandt’s doctrine. It was probably during the time Flinck taught at Rembrandt’s studio, Ferdinand Bol also present (from about 1635). Around 1636, Flinck left Rembrandt’s workplace and stood on his own legs. Houbraken states that at that moment Rembrandt’s work was so close that several works of Flinck were sold as Rembrandt. Afterwards, his style evolved with the taste of time towards a more classic style. Flinck apparently went for the wind because in 1644 he bought a double building on the Lauriergracht (76 and 78) for 10,000 guilders.
Houbraken writes: While Konstroem is now widely spread, he confesses the wedding … On 3 June 1645, Flinck was in agreement with Ingitta Thoveling. She originally came from Rotterdam, where her father had been the director of the VOC. At the time of subjugation she lived with her mother, who was widow, on the Prinsengracht. Flinck’s social status was increasing in advance, thus increasing the chance of assignments from the Amsterdam elite. In the 1640’s, Flinck painted three racing and shooter portraits.
With awe, Houbraken speaks about Flinck’s big studio and one of his admirers, Frederik Willem, keurvorst of Brandenburg. Houbraken gives a long list of friends and acquaintances of Flinck, all members of the Amsterdam elite, such as Cornelis and Andries de Graeff, Pieter and Jan Six. In 1651, Flinck died of a woman who suffered from water pollution for years. Flinck himself changed confession a few months later. The baptist Flinck became Remonstrants.
In the first half of the 1650s Flinck made ever fewer paintings. This seems mainly due to the decline in the number of portraits made by Flinck. Houbraken says that: But his mind, inclined to larger companies and encouraged by the art of Rubens and van Dyck, who he had to consider in Antwerp, were those who wanted to portray his portraits afterwards to Bartholomeus van der Helst . Houbraken has largely the same on the basis of work delivered. The number of portraits is definitely a good deal, but Flinck did not paint any portraits at all. In the second half of the 1650s Flinck painted two very large pieces for the new town hall. After the death of Govert Flinck in 1660, Jordaens, Jan Lievens, Jurriaen Ovens, Jacob van Ruisdael and Rembrandt, commissioned a number of paintings for the decoration of the new city hall in Amsterdam by the De Graeff brothers.
The last years of Flinck’s life were entirely in the name of commissions for the city hall. Flinck would work seven with the Batavas as a theme and in addition four more with images of good patriots, but according to Houbraken […] it believed the Almighty to strike this intention […]. When Flinck died, Rembrandt was commissioned to paint the Bataven conspiracy under Claudius Civilis. Joost van den Vondel wrote a mourning poem about the premature death (he was 45 years old) from Flinck on February 2, 1660. On February 7, he was buried in the Westerkerk. His son Nicolaas Antoni, who taught him the subject, sold a building on the Laurier Gracht to Hendrick van Uylenburgh. As director of the VOC in Rotterdam, he became friends with the painter Adriaen van der Werff.
Flinck was a celebrated painter during his life. His portraits not only attracted eagerly from the Amsterdam notes, but also to the court of Prince of Orange and Frederik Willem I of Brandenburg. Initially, Rembrandt’s influence was clearly visible in his work. Later, from around 1642, he developed his own style that more corresponded to the classicist style of the time being, as used by Bartholomeus van der Helst. Flinck’s famous works include Samuel Manasse Ben Israel (1637, in the Mauritshuis in The Hague) and Isaac bless Jacob (1638, Rijksmuseum).
The earliest of Flinck’s authentic pieces is a portrait of a lady, dated 1636, in the gallery of Brunswick. His first subject picture is the Blessing of Jacob (1638), in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Both are thoroughly Rembrandtesque in effect as well as in vigour of touch and warmth of flesh tints. The four civic guards of 1642, and the twelve musketeers with their president in an arm-chair (1648); in the Stadhuis, Amsterdam, are fine specimens of composed portrait groups. But the best of Flinck’s productions in this style is the peace of Münster in the Rijksmuseum, a canvas with 19 life-size figures full of animation in the faces, “radiant with Rembrandtesque colour,” and admirably distributed. Flinck here painted his own likeness to the left in a doorway. The mannered period of Flinck is amply illustrated in the Marcus Curius Dentatus refuses the gifts of the Samnites, and Solomon receiving Wisdom, in the Palace on the Dam at Amsterdam. Here it is that Flinck shows most defects, being faulty in arrangement, gaudy in tint, flat and shallow in execution, that looks as if it had been smeared with violet powder and rouge.
The chronology of Flinck’s works, so far as they are seen in public galleries, comprises, in addition to the foregoing, the Grey Beard of 1639 at Dresden, A Young Archer from 1640 in the Wallace Collection, the Girl of 1641 at the Louvre, a portrait group of a male and female (1646) at Rotterdam, a lady (1651) at Berlin.
In November 1659 the burgomaster of Amsterdam contracted with Flinck for 12 canvases to represent four heroic figures of David and Samson and Manius Curius Dentatus and Horatius Cocles, and scenes from the Batavians and Romans. Flinck was unable to finish more than the sketches. After his death Rembrandt was asked to fill one of the commissions, and produced his last great history picture, the Conspriracy of Claudius Civilis, which the authorities rejected.
In the same year he received a flattering acknowledgment from the town council of Cleves and the completion of a picture of Solomon which was a counterpart of the composition at Amsterdam. This and other pictures and portraits, such as those of Friedrich Wilhelm and John Maurice, and the allegory of Louisa of Orange attended by Victory and Fame and other figures at the cradle of the first-born son of the elector, have disappeared. Of several pictures which were painted for the Great Elector, none are preserved except the Expulsion of Hagar in the Berlin museum.