KEYSER, Thomas de
(b. 1596/97, Amsterdam, d. 1667, Amsterdam)

Equestrian Portrait of Pieter Schout

Oil on copper, 86 x 69,5 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

In his group portraits de Keyser follows the Amsterdam tradition of showing civic guards standing full-length. The result is not very satisfactorily. He is more original and successful in his small scale, full-length portraits of one or two figures in interiors surrounded by objects that allude to their interests and achievements. His masterwork in this branch of genre-like portraiture, which he principally formulated and popularized, is Constantijn Huygens and his Clerk dated 1627.

In addition to portraits, de Keyser's oeuvre includes religious and mythological subjects. During the 1640s and 1650s he was active as a stone merchant and mason, and painted less, but afterwards he picked up his brushes more frequently. During his last years he painted a few small-scale equestrian portraits, a type that never gained wide popularity in the Netherlands. The first is Pieter Schout on Horseback, dated 1660, which depicts his patrician patron, who was High Bailiff of Hagstein, on a black Andalusian executing a 'pesade' in a dune landscape; the support of the finely executed piece is copper.