Cornelis van Haarlem  

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The Dragon Slaying the Companions of Cadmus (1588) by Hendrik Goltzius, after a painting by Cornelis van Haarlem
The Dragon Slaying the Companions of Cadmus (1588) by Hendrik Goltzius, after a painting by Cornelis van Haarlem

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Cornelis Corneliszoon van Haarlem (Haarlem 1562 - November 11 1638), Dutch Golden Age painter and draughtsman, was one of the leading Northern Mannerist artists in The Netherlands, and an important forerunner of Frans Hals as a portraitist. He is known for such paintings as The Monk and the Nun (1591).

Cornelis Corneliszoon was a member of the Mannerist school of Haarlem, which was highly influenced by the work of Bartholomeus Spranger. He painted mainly portraits as well as mythological and Biblical subjects. Initially Corneliszoon painted large-size, highly stylized works with Italianate nudes in twisted poses with a grotesque, unnatural anatomy. Later, his work got more of a naturalistic character.

When his parents fled Haarlem in 1572, as the Spanish army laid siege to the city during the Eighty Years' War, Corneliszoon remained behind and was raised by the painter Pieter Pietersz., his first teacher. Later, Corneliszoon studied in Rouen, France and Antwerp, Belgium.

Corneliszoon in 1583 received his first official commission from the city of Haarlem, a militia company portrait, the Banquet of the Haarlem Civic Guard. He later became city painter of Haarlem and received numerous official commissions. As a portrait painter, both of groups and individuals, he was an important influence on Frans Hals.

Together with Carel van Mander, Hendrick Goltzius and other artists, Corneliszoon formed the Haarlem Academy. Probably this was a small club where nude models were drawn and artistic views were exchanged. Corneliszoon also played a role in reorganizing the artists' and artisans' guild of St. Luke, eliminating its medieval organization and raising the status of the artists.

Corneliszoon married Maritgen Arentsdr Deyman, the daughter of a mayor of Haarlem, sometime before 1603. In 1605 he inherited a third of his wealthy father-in-law’s estate.

Paintings by Corneliszoon are on display at the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Louvre in Paris, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and other museums.

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