MIJ, Hieronymus van der
(b. 1687, Leiden, d. 1761, Leiden)

Biography

Hieronymus van der Mij (also spelt My), Dutch painter, active in Leiden. He was the eldest son of Philip van der Mij (1654-1721), a caster of sculptures and vases, known for some monumental garden vases designed by his fellow townsman Willem van Mieris. Hieronymus was trained by Willem van Mieris as a painter. Nevertheless he entered the Leiden university at 22 in 1710. Like Rembrandt a century before him, van der Mij was registered as a student in his city of birth for the privileges and exemptions connected with the academic status, without ever attending any classes. It took to 1724 until the artist entered the Saint Lucas-guild of Leiden, the same guild his father entered in 1702.

In 1728 van der Mij bought a house in the Breestraat and lived there for the rest of his life, without ever getting married. In 1763 van der Mij became director of the Leidse Tekenacademie (the arts academy) of Leiden, together with Frans van Mieris the Younger, son of Willem van Mieris. The artist died in 1761. His collection of prints and plaster sculptures was auctioned off six months after his death.

The gifted van der Mij specialized in genre painting, but he also painted portraits and historical scenes. He also designed tall vases that were, presumably by his father, cast in lead-alloy. He also operated as an arts dealer.

For a long period, Hieronymus van der Mij was primarily known as a portrait painter, because of his work for the upper middle class and the college professors. Eventually his talent for historical and genre painting was recognized. The hand of van der Mij is so consistent with that of his tutor, that in the 19th century his work was frequently attributed to the far more famous Willem van Mieris. Often these attributions were 'corroborated' by a forged signature that obscured the true provenance.