Jan de Baen
Dutch painter



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Jan de Baen
Dutch painter
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Date of Birth


Date of Death


More about Jan de Baen

cschuster's picture

Sr. Contributor

Maybe some Talented Mr. Ripley stuff was all just a part of Jan de Baen's grand plan.

Pretty much every important person in Jan's life died before he did. Jan was orphaned at just 3-years old. His uncle, a magistrate and painter named Heinrich Pieman, took him in and gave him his first painting lessons. The uncle died after Jan moved to Amsterdam to apprentice in a painter's workshop. Then his master dies and he, perhaps Darth Vader like, became the master. 

Jan knew how to give the people what they wanted. He brought the bacon home doing portraits of the rich and the famous, mostly because he always made sure to make people look real good. William of Orange liked the way he looked at the hands of de Baen. King Charles II of England must have liked it more, because he called the painter across the English Channel for some good ol' court painting. Jan lived in London for a few years before returning to The Netherlands, marrying, and having eight kids. One of the kids, Jacobus, became a successful painter in his own right before, you guessed it, dying.

It it just might be that what made him so popular in the 18th century makes him so largely unpopular today. Dutch portraiture around the time of de Baen was dominated by Rembrandt and Frans Hals. In particular, Dutch portraits are relied on now as a way to understand Dutch society as a whole. And most painters, basically those that by the transitive property can neither be Rembrandt nor Frans Hals, like de Baen, are looked on as adequate at best. De Baen, in particular, is relegated to the 'meh' pile because he kissed too much ass in his portraits without giving us modern folk the real dirt we hope for.

mhoutzager's picture


Orphaned, but taken in and raised by an uncle who happened to be a painter.

Made it big as a portrait painter to the rich and famous, including Jan de Witt (numero uno Dutch politician), King Charles II of England, and William III of Orange, king of both the Netherlands and of England.

He taught his son Jacobus to paint, but unfortunately Jacobus died when he was only 27. So both his parents and his son died prematurely, while Jan de Baen himself lived to the ripe old age of 69.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Jan de Baen

Jan de Baen (20 February 1633 – 1702) was a Dutch portrait painter who lived during the Dutch Golden Age. He was a pupil of the painter Jacob Adriaensz Backer in Amsterdam from 1645 to 1648. He worked for Charles II of England in his Dutch exile, and from 1660 until his death he lived and worked in The Hague. His portraits were popular in his day, and he painted the most distinguished people of his time.


Jan de Baen was born on 20 February 1633 in Haarlem, Holland, Dutch Republic. After his parents died, when he was a child, he lived with his uncle Hinderk Pyman (or Piemans) in Emden. Jan de Baen received his first painting lessons from his uncle, who was a painter himself. From 1645 to 1648 he lived in Amsterdam, where he was the pupil of painter Jacob Adriaensz Backer.

After completing his training, he worked for the exiled court of Charles II of England, but upon the English Restoration of 1660 did not follow his patron, but moved to The Hague, where he worked as a portrait painter for the rest of his life. The Elector of Brandenburg asked him to work at his court in Berlin, but he refused this invitation. He was the teacher of his son, the painter Jacobus de Baen, and the pupils Johann Friedrich Bodecker, Denys Godijn, Hendrik van Limborch, Nicolaes van Ravesteyn, Petro van Rijs, Jan van Sweel, and Johannes Vollevens.

He died in 1702 around his 69th birthday, and was buried in The Hague on 8 March 1702. In his biographical sketch of Jan de Baen, Houbraken claims that he taught his son Jacobus to paint, who died at 27.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Jan de Baen.