WITHOOS, Matthias
(b. 1627, Amersfoort, d. 1703, Hoorn)


Dutch painter of landscapes, views, animals, flowers and shadowy undergrowth. According to Houbraken, his biographer, Withoos studied for six years at Jacob van Campen's school for painters at Randenbroeck, his country estate near Amersfoort. In 1648 he went to Italy with van Schrieck and Willem van Aelst and he lived in Italy between 1648 and 1652. He became a member of the Schildersbent (Dutch: "painters' clique") Society of Dutch and Flemish painters in Rome, which flourished from c. 1620 to 1720. The Schildersbent was notorious for its bacchic rituals and opposition to the Roman Accademia di San Luca.

In Rome he worked for Cardinal Leopoldo de' Medici and appears to have been active in Florence as well. In 1653 he returned to Amersfoort, where he specialized as a painter in views of his native city. Between 1665 and 1672 Withoos sat on the town council, was in charge of the orphanage and held the office of sheriff. Thus, he can be said to have achieved a certain degree of social prominence. When Amersfoort was threatened by the approaching French army in 1672, Withoos fled to Hoorn, where he spent the rest of his life.

Withoos's favourite genres were still-lifes with plants and animals, and landscapes. He was also fond of setting arrangements resembling still-lifes against panoramic landscape backgrounds, and he painted harbour views and panoramas of Amersfoort as well. Withoos's interest in architecture, depth and space can be attributed to the influence of the architect-painter Van Campen. His panoramas contain both traditional Dutch and Italian elements and in this regard, he is primarily important as Van Wittel's teacher.

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