EVERDINGEN, Caesar van
(b. 1617, Alkmaar, d. 1678, Alkmaar)


Dutch painter, the elder brother of Allaert van Everdingen. He painted portraits and historical pictures, and was attracted by the south not the north. Although he never went to Italy, he captured the spirit of Italian art better than many of his countrymen who crossed the Alps: witness his beautiful Four Muses with Pegasus (c.1650), part of the decoration of the royal villa - the Huis ten Bosch - at The Hague. Van Everdingen's work represent a high point in Dutch Classicism.

Caesar Pietersz van Everdingen, who was also called Caesar Bovetius van Everdingen, was born in Alkmaar in about 1617. He was the first child of the solicitor and notary Pieter Cornelisz van Everdingen (1575-1662) and his second wife, the municipal midwife Aechte Claesdr Moer (d. 1640), who were married on 15 July 1615. The couple had four more children: Johannes (ca. 1620-1656), who chose the same profession as his father and practised in Alkmaar, Allaert, who became a landscape painter, his twin sister Dieuwertje, who died in infancy, and Scipio (b. 1623), who was trained as a pharmacist and is thought to have died in Italy. Caesar was named after his maternal great-grandfather, the Haarlem lawyer Caesar Bovetis (Boetius), whose family came from Mantua.

The Van Everdingens were originally from Utrecht, where Caesar's paternal great-grandfather, Loeff Thonisz van Everdingen, was city councillor and alderman from 1576 to 1589. Houbraken reports that Caesar and his brother Allaert studied in Utrecht, Caesar under Jan Gerritsz van Bronchorst and Allaert under Roelant Savery. His information is unreliable, however, since Van Bronchorst started out as a glass painter and only took up painting in 1639. Even so, Caesar indeed came under his influence. Documents of 18 December 1628 and 10 October 1629 describe Caesar as a 'painter's assistant'. He was about twelve years old at the time. Three years later, in 1632, he joined the Alkmaar Guild of St Luke. His earliest known works are portraits of his parents, dating from 1636. In 1641, he painted the officers of the Old Civic Guard of Alkmaar, which was his first official commission.

In about 1640, Caesar met Jacob van Campen, who was designing the case and shutters of the new organ at the Grote Kerk in Alkmaar. Caesar was commissioned to decorate the shutters. In 1642 and 1643, he spent eighteen months in Van Campen's house Randenbroek near Amersfoort, working on the models. He became a member of the local painters' guild during this period. Caesar returned to Alkmaar in August 1643 to complete his painting of the shutters.

After the death of Caesar's mother in 1640, his father married Elisabeth van Hoogstraten, the widow of Tobias Harmensz van Oosthoorn, on 17 July 1644. At the beginning of December 1646, Caesar himself married his stepsister Helena van Oosthoorn. The couple remained childless.

In 1648 Caesar moved to Haarlem, where he and his brother joined the St George Civic Guard. Between 1648 and 1651, Caesar executed three paintings for the Oranjezaal in Huis ten Bosch in The Hague. The Frisian stadholder Willem Frederik visited him in Haarlem in early October and December 1648, while he was working on this project. In 1651, Caesar joined the Haarlem Guild of St Luke, where he was appointed warden in 1654 and dean in 1655 and i656.

On 4 January 1651, he and his wife became members of the Dutch Reformed Church in Haarlem. They were living in the Grote Houtstraat, where they had their will drawn up on 5 November 1655. That year Caesar painted a large overmantel for the Water Board (Gemeenlandshuis) in Halfweg. He spent part of 1657 in Alkmaar in order to paint another militia piece for the Old Civic Guard. In 1658, he presented the Guild Hall in Haarlem with an overmantel painting showing the guild's armorial bearings and its ewer and basin. Later that year, after a decade in Haarlem, Caesar returned to Alkmaar, where he remained for the rest of his life. In Alkmaar he painted a militia piece of the Young Civic Guard in 1659, an overmantel for the Prinsenkamer in 1662 and the Portrait of Wollebrand Geleynsz de Jonah for the Civic Orphanage in 1674.

Caesar van Everdingen was buried on 13 October 1678 in the Grote Kerk in Alkmaar. His widow Helena van Oosthoorn presented some of the paintings in her possession to the Van Everdingen family. She subsequently married Pieter Gerritsz Lang, the sheriff of Bergen, near Alkmaar, but the marriage ended in separation in 1687. Helena was buried in the Grote Kerk on 22 June 1694, in the same grave as Caesar.