(b. 1561, Antwerpen, d. 1631, Antwerpen)


Tobias Verhaecht (van Haecht; Verhaegt), Flemish painter and draughtsman, active also in Italy. He spent much of his early life in Florence, where he won the favour of Francesco I, Grand Duke of Tuscany (reg 1574-87), and in Rome, where he earned a reputation as a painter of landscape frescoes. In 1590 he became a master in the Guild of St Luke, Antwerp. A year later he married Suzanna van Mockenborch, a distant relation of Rubens; she died in 1595, and he remarried the next year. Verhaecht was an active member of the rhetoricians' chamber, the Gillyflower, as his father had been, and he wrote a comedy for them in 1620 and donated two complete costumes for torch-bearers. In 1594 he was commissioned to design the decorations for the triumphal entry into Antwerp of Archduke Ernst of Hungary (1553-95). Verhaecht trained several pupils, including his son Willem van Haecht II and, briefly, Rubens.