PLUYM, Karel van der
(b. 1625, Leiden, d. 1672, Leiden)

Biography

Dutch painter, draughtsman and etcher. He is best known as a second cousin and pupil of Rembrandt. His father, master leadsmith and slater in Leiden, was married to Cornelia van Suytbroek, Rembrandt's cousin. Van der Pluym probably began his apprenticeship with Rembrandt when he was about 20. Although this is undocumented, it is likely, considering both the family relation and his Rembrandtesque style of painting. In 1648 he was a member of the newly formed Leiden Guild of St Luke; following his marriage on 30 December 1651, he became a master of the Guild, and Dean in 1654-55. He also held other public offices in Leiden, which could indicate that he saw painting only as a side-line and could also explain why his oeuvre is so limited.

In 1662 he drew up a will and testament bequeathing 3000 guilders on his death to Rembrandt's son, Titus; in 1665 he was made Titus's legal guardian in connection with a lawsuit over Titus's inheritance. From 1664 he was a member of the Council of Forty in Leiden, during which time it is presumed that he did no further painting.

A number of paintings formerly attributed to Rembrandt, including such famous works as Saul and David and The Man in a Golden Helmet, seem to form a stylistically distinct group that was executed by another hand. Although the author of these canvases cannot be established with certainty, several of them have striking affinities in handling and subject matter with the work of Rembrandt's cousin and pupil, Karel van der Pluym.