Who is Barent Gael?

By Gwylym Owen

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Barent Gael (c. 1630 – 1698) was a Dutch Golden Age landscape painter.

Gael was born in Haarlem. According to Houbraken, he was a pupil of Philips Wouwerman, who painted many battle pieces and staging areas (Dutch: pleisterplaatsen). He was in the compulsion of keeping his own schedule at the risk of offending customers – Houbraken relates a moment taking into consideration a patron came to his home for a viewing and he claimed he “wasn’t at home”. The patron was correspondingly insulted that in the same way as Gael came to him gone the curtains painting, he claimed he was now “not at home” and refused payment.

According to the RKD, he painted Italianate landscapes and was prominent in the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke by 1642. His latest known obsolete painting is from 1679, but his paintings are rarely dated. He is listed as dead in a list of guild members by Vincent van der Vinne’s son Laurens in 1702. He moved from Haarlem to Amsterdam sometime with the years 1661 and 1673, where he remained until his death.

An apprenticeship to Wouwerman was never found in the chronicles during the period below review, but he shows strong influence by Haarlem colleagues. He has a large oeuvre that is somewhat monotonous.

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