Dirck Helmbreker

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Dirck Helmbreker
Helmbreker, Dirck (1633-1696).jpg
Dirck Helmbreker

Died1696 (aged 62–63)
Known forPainting

Dirck Helmbreker, Theodor Helmbreeker, or Teodoro Elembrech (1633–1696) was a Dutch Golden Age painter of Italianate landscapes.


According to Houbraken he lived from 1624 to 1694, but this has since been proven to be incorrect.[1][2] He was born in Haarlem and became a pupil of Pieter de Grebber.[1] He traveled to Rome at a young age, where he remained until his death.[2] His paintings belong to the group of artists known as the Bamboccianti, or, as Houbraken writes, Bamboots,[2] which is a specialization by Northern artists in small-scale genre scenes in the manner of Pieter van Laer while in Rome.[3] Helmbreker arrived in Italy in 1654, eventually settling in Rome by the end of the decade.[4] At the end of the 1670s he and the Flemish painter Willem Reuter were members of a group known as the 'Congregazione dei Virtuosi al Pantheon'.[5] The Congregazione counted among its members many important artists who left their mark in Rome.


He was influenced by Sébastien Bourdon.[1] His genre scenes, which were among the last generation of the Bamboccianti,[3] tended to be more classical in inspiration than many their earlier low-life scenes.[4] Ultimately, these works found great success with Italian collectors.[4] In 1695 he was commissioned to paint the main altar piece of the Church of St. Julian of the Flemings in Rome.

Houbraken described a painting from 1681 in the possession of Pieter Klok showing an Italian monastery with a group of poor people in the foreground with various handicaps being given soup from a large kettle ladled by a Franciscan friar. Helmbreker was very religious and donated often to the poor of Rome.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Entry on Dirck Helmbreeker in RKD
  2. ^ a b c d (in Dutch) Theodoor Helmbreker biography in De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen (1718) by Arnold Houbraken, courtesy of the Digital library for Dutch literature
  3. ^ a b Slive, pp. 233–237.
  4. ^ a b c Laureati
  5. ^ Biographical details of Willem Reuter at the National Gallery of Art

External links[edit]


  • Laura Laureati, "Helmbreker [Elembrech; Helmbreecker], Dirck [Teodoro; Theodoor; Theodor]," Grove Art Online. Oxford University Press, [October 29, 2007].
  • Slive, Seymour (1995). Dutch Painting 1600-1800. New Haven: Yale University Press - Pelican history of Art. ISBN 0-300-06418-7.