Jan de Bray


(1627 – April 4, 1697)

Style:  Realism

Background: Jan de Bray was born in Haarlem in 1657.

Achievements: According to Houbraken he was the most famous pupil of his father, the architect and poet Salomon de Bray. Houbraken called Jan the “pearl in Haarlem’s crown”. Houbraken saw a painting by de Bray of David and the Return of the Ark of the Covenant in the collection of Arnoud van Halen in Amsterdam, dated 1697, that he admired for its realistic flesh tones in the forms of David playing the harp and the Levites behind him. Houbraken also mentioned some black and red chalk drawings by him that he saw at the Amsterdam home of Isaak del Court.
He spent most of his career working in Haarlem, where he was for many years dean of the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke.His brother Dirck de Bray was a flower painter who later became a monk in the monastery at Gaesdonck near Goch.His brother Joseph was also a painter. His mother was Anna Westerbaen, the sister of the painter Jan Westerbaen and the poet Jacob Westerbaen.

De Bray survived most of his family during an outbreak of the plague in Haarlem in 1664. He lost his father and two siblings within a month of each other. His wives – Maria van Hees who he married 21 October 1688, Margaretha de Meyer who he married in 1672, and Victoria Stalpert van der Wielen who he married 30 January 1678, each died before him; Victoria shortly after giving birth to their son, Johan Lucas. In 1689 he was declared bankrupt as a Haarlem citizen and moved to Amsterdam, where he died, though he was buried in Haarlem.

Famous Works: 

Jan de Bray - Bacchus

Jan de Bray – Bacchus

Jan de Bray - David Playing the Harp

Jan de Bray – David Playing the Harp

Jan de Bray - Head of a Boy

Jan de Bray – Head of a Boy

Jan de Bray - The Adoration of the Magi

Jan de Bray – The Adoration of the Magi

Jan de Bray - The de Bray Family (The Banquet of Antony and Cleopatra)

Jan de Bray – The de Bray Family (The Banquet of Antony and Cleopatra)

Jan de Bray - The Painter's Guild

Jan de Bray – The Painter’s Guild