(b. 1589, Amsterdam, d. 1644, Amsterdam)


Dutch painter, born Johannes Sijmonsz van der Beeck. An allegoric still-life intended to advertise the virtue of Temperance (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) is his only known painting. He hardly took to heart the temperance message of his still-life. Contemporary documents and references establish that he was notorious for his unorthodox conduct and his obscene pictures. He was tortured and sentenced to twenty-years imprisonment by Haarlem's municipal authorities for immorality, blasphemy, and probably for membership in the outlawed Rosicrucian sect.

After his imprisonment, Charles I, who admired and collected his pictures, interceded on his behalf with Stadholder Frederik Hendrik. Through the latter's good offices Torrentius was released from prison in 1630 and travelled to London bearing a few of his paintings, including, it seems, the allegory on Temperance; Charles's brand on the panel's verso places it firmly in his collection. It was anticipated that Torrentius would paint captivating pictures for the English court, but apparently he produced very little in England before returning to Holland.