Thomas de Keyser (c. 1596–1667) was a Dutch portrait painter and a dealer in Belgium bluestone and stone mason. He was the most in-demand portrait painter in the Netherlands until the 1630s, when Rembrandt eclipsed him in popularity. Rembrandt was influenced by his work, and many of de Keyser's paintings were later falsely attributed to Rembrandt.
Thomas de Keyser was a son of the architect and sculptor Hendrik de Keyser and the brother of Pieter and Willem de Keyser. He and his brothers were raised in a house on the Amsterdam canal Groenburgwal. In 1616 he and Pieter became apprentices of their father; in 1619 he presented his first painting, an Anatomic Lesson, but this attribution was rejected; nowadays Pickenoy is mentioned as creator. It is possible Thomas was influenced by Cornelis Ketel and Pieter Isaacsz, for years friendly to his father. In 1622 Thomas and Pieter became members of the Guild of St. Luke. According to the Netherlands Institute for Art History, he was a pupil of Cornelis van der Voort, the head of the guild, who died in 1624. Van der Voort lived in what is now the Rembrandthuis. The painters Nicolaes Eliaszoon Pickenoy, who lived next door, and Werner van den Valckert have been accredited by different authorities with having developed his talent, and sometimes his works have been confused with these painters, who painted portraits in similar styles. The works of Pieter Lastman and Joachim von Sandrart he knew very well.
In 1622 Thomas and his brother Pieter became member of the Guild. In 1626 the painter lived in Jodenbreestraat when he married Machtelt Andries, the daughter of a goldsmith in Warmoesstraat. As an heir of his uncle Aert the property was sold to the Sefardic community and changed into a house synagogue. Thomas de Keyser faced strong competition from Rembrandt, as a portrait painter and received very few commissions. In 1640 he remarried and lived at Lindengracht in the Jordaan. The couple had five children, baptized as Remonstrants. He owned a Petit Granit business from 1624 until 1654, which he sold to Pieter. Willem, his younger brother, cooperated with the architect Jacob van Campen on sketches for the town hall, but left for England after being accused of fraud and went broke. Thomas occasionally returned to painting: in 1652 a Nausicaa meeting Odyssey on the beach, intended for "Desolate Boedelkamer" in the town hall.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has the largest collection of paintings by de Keyser. His work can also be seen at the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg and the National Gallery in London, among others.
According to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, "[h]is portraiture is full of character and masterly in handling, and often distinguished by a rich golden glow of color and Rembrandtesque chiaroscuro. Some of his portraits are life-size, but the artist generally preferred to keep them on a considerably smaller scale, like the famous Four Amsterdam burgomasters assembled to receive Marie de Medici in 1638..." which is now on display at the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague.
The landscape painter Jacob Isaakszoon van Ruisdael painted a landscape as a background to one of his group portraits, burgomaster Cornelis de Graeff and his family and three persons on the back including his brother burgomaster Andries de Graeff in front of their estate near Soestdijk.
Portrait of a silversmith
The militia company of captain Allaert Cloeck and lieutenant Lucas Jacobsz. Rotgans (1632)
Portrait of a woman
A Musician and His Daughter, 1629, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait (detail) of Loeff Fredericx as an ensign by Thomas de Keyser (1626)
- Liedtke, Walter (2007). Dutch paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 393. ISBN 978-0-300-12028-8.
- https://archief.amsterdam/archief/5062/31; https://archief.amsterdam/archief/5062/39
- Veritus Archived 2007-02-20 at the Wayback Machine
- "A.W. WEISSMAN (1904) Het geslacht De Keyser" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-10-12. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
- Thomas de Keyser Archived 2020-08-14 at the Wayback Machine at the Netherlands Institute for Art History
- Verborgen verhalen. Wijze lessen in de decoraties van het voormalig Stadhuis van Amsterdam. Published on Jul 2, 2015. Auteurs: - Renske Cohen Tervaert, 'Verborgen verhalen' - Eric Jan Sluijter, 'Hoe Theseus werd verzekerd en Odysseus van de ondergang gered' - Jasper Hillegers, 'Verborgen verhalen ontrafeld' grafisch ontwerp: NorthernLight uitgever: Stichting Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam, p. 21
- https://archief.amsterdam/archief/5062/35; https://archief.amsterdam/archief/5075/599
- The municipal building company The organization of Public Works in the seventeenth century Dutch Republic by G. van Essen, p. 206
- Liedtke, Walter (2007). Dutch paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 393.
- Verborgen verhalen. Wijze lessen in de decoraties van het voormalig Stadhuis van Amsterdam. Published on Jul 2, 2015. Auteurs: - Renske Cohen Tervaert, 'Verborgen verhalen' - Eric Jan Sluijter, 'Hoe Theseus werd verzekerd en Odysseus van de ondergang gered' - Jasper Hillegers, 'Verborgen verhalen ontrafeld' grafisch ontwerp: NorthernLight uitgever: Stichting Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam, p. 23
- "Cultuurarchief". Archived from the original on 2006-10-26. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
- "Daniel Stalpaert (1615-1676) stadsarchitect van Amsterdam en de Amsterdamse stadsfabriek in de periode 1647 tot 1676 Gea van Essen, p. 107" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-05-09. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
- public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "De Keyser, Thomas". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 938. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the
- Jacob Isaacksz van Ruisdael Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine at the Netherlands Institute for Art History
- "Letterkundig woordenboek voor Noord en Zuid". Archived from the original on 2007-08-18. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
- Works and literature on Thomas de Keyser
- Artcyclopedia list of museums with works by Thomas de Keyser
- Works at WGA