CODDE, Pieter
(b. 1599, Amsterdam, d. 1678, Amsterdam)

Young Scholar in His Study: Melancholy

c. 1630
Oil on panel, 46 x 34 cm
Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille

Pieter Codde painted portraits, history paintings, and high-life scenes as well as military subjects. His small picture of a Young Scholar in his Study, painted in shades of silvery grey and ochres, is a kind of secularization of Dürer's Melancholia. It is more appealing than his more ambitious genre compositions, where he gives way to his preference for rather coarse and plump types, over-glossy textures, and exaggerated highlights. The rooms Codde represents are always of less interest to him than the people he placed in them, and although he lived long enough to see the accomplishments of the great Dutch painters of interiors - he died in 1678, three years after Vermeer - he never attempted to emulate their achievements. But he made at least one attempt to make a radical shift in his style. In the half of Frans Hals's Meagre Company he completed he made a concerted effort to emulate Hals's touch.

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