XVII century, Holland. Almost two thousand artists worked in a small country, which created very fierce competition. Each of them had to look for their narrow specialization, having clearly defined the genre.
One of the best painters writing in the genre of household or “room” painting, was Peter de Hoch. Little is known about his life. He was born into a poor family in Rotterdam in 1629. Most likely, the boy would become a good mason if he continued the work of his father. But a seventeen-year-old boy chooses a different path for himself and leaves for Haarlem to study painting.
His first teacher was the painter Nicholas Burham, writing in the genre of pastoral landscape. But just copying landscapes in the "Italian style" after some time ceased to satisfy Peter. He was more attracted to genre scenes in the spirit of Frans Hals. He leaves the workshop and in 1648 begins to work independently.
The next two years, de Hoch is trying to earn a living by selling his paintings. A young man with gentle humor writes to the company of brave soldiers or players in taverns, funny revels in zucchini ("Funny Hornbirds", "Players in a trick-truck"). In the works of this period, people occupy the main place, the interior is very poorly written.
In 1650, Peter got a job as a valet and personal artist in combination with cloth merchant Eustace de la Grange. This gives the young man the opportunity to get new impressions, traveling a lot around the country. His favorite hobby was collecting paintings. In the collection he collected there are 11 works by a young artist.
In 1652, Eustace de la Grange moved to the quiet and clean town of Delft, and Peter traveled with him. Delft at this time is famous for its picturesque school. The town has many painters, including the famous Karel Fabricius and Jan Vermeer.
The artist receives official recognition in 1655, he is accepted as a member of the Guild of St. Luke, so he gets the right to sell his paintings and recruit students.
The master sharply changes the subject of paintings - now these are everyday scenes of everyday city life. The main heroines are the Delft townspeople: caring mothers, hardworking maids, diligent housewives (“Maternal responsibilities”, “Mistress and maid”, “Woman cleaning an apple”). Perhaps, in part, this was facilitated by his marriage to Yanniete van der Bürch, in whose marriage seven children will appear in their family.
The subjects of his work are simple, but each has its own mood. The action is transferred to charming courtyards and cozy Dutch houses. The interior is complicated, there are many expressive, clearly prescribed details.
The master’s palette now consists mainly of light and muffled brown flowers with beautiful coloristic nuances. His canvases are filled with clear air and light.
De Hoch's favorite trick is a view through a door or window into the opening space (“Courtyard in Delft”, “Dutch Interior”). Space, light and people are in perfect harmony with each other. In all the paintings of the “Delft period” by Peter de Hoch there is a sense of light poetry, measuredness and comfort.
1660 brings him the first test. Eustace de La Grange moves to America, and the artist with a large family moves to Amsterdam. Accumulations end quickly, and work is sold very poorly. Having decided that the plain story is to blame, Hoh begins to paint family portraits, scenes of walks and music concerts, interiors of rich houses (“Concert”, “Couple with a Parrot”). The color mood of the paintings also changes: the painter begins to use colder and darker colors, whitish shades appear. But recognition does not come to him.
A big blow for Peter is the death of his wife in 1667. His health was greatly shaken, in recent years he lived in poverty. It was believed that the artist died in 1684 in a madhouse in Amsterdam. But recent studies have shown that we are talking about his son, so you can’t say with certainty the date of death of the painter.
Currently, the paintings of Peter de Hoch, one of the best "small Dutch", exhibited in the most famous museums in the world.