Heerschop remained his complete career active in his native Haarlem.
Modern scholars refute the idea that he might have been a pupil of Rembrandt in Amsterdam, though he was clearly influenced by the master or by his earlier Leiden pupils, especially in this subject of an elder scholar at work.
About Hendrick Heerschop
Haarlem 1626/27 – 1690 Haarlem
Painter and engraver of genre scenes and of historic (especially religious) subjects.
Pupil of the still life painter Willem Claesz. Heda in 1642.
In the past it was thought that Heerschop had spent a few years in the 1640s in Amsterdam, studying under Rembrandt.
Heerschop became a Master in the Painter’s Guild of Haarlem in 1648.
About the subject of our painting
Our geographer must have been well off. There hangs a violin and a map on the wall and he is looking at a precious celestial globe. Just as notaries or jewellers represented in other Dutch interior scenes painted during the 2nd half of the 17th century he is carrying an informal loose robe, a so-called “banyan” or “robe de chamber”. These kimono-like garments were clearly based on Asian or Persian imports (these were the high days of the Dutch East Indies Company).
A contemplative scholar at work in his study was a favourite subject of seventeenth century Dutch painters. A scholar attempting to slice the tip of a quill pen stood for sharpening one’s intellect through practice. It referred to the Latin expression “nil penna sed usus” = “not the pen but its use”.
Hendrick Heerschop regularly painted scholars in their study. If not a pupil of Rembrandt he must still have been strongly influenced by the master and/or by his Leiden pupils for scholars and older men rank among his/their favourite subjects.
Heerschop’s family was possibly Mennonist. Menno Simons (1496 – 1561) of Friesland, the N. part of the Dutch Republic, was the founder of this Anabaptist church. The subject of an old scholar at work stands for discipline, devotion and practice.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is a great subject of Dutch 17th century painting.