7 facts about David Beck

By Gwylym Owen

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David Beck (or Beek; May 25, 1621 – December 20, 1656), was a Dutch Golden Age portrait painter.

Beck was born in Delft, and was named after his uncle, a renowned poet from Arnhem. He was the son of a schoolmaster in Delft, where he intellectual painting from Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt, a prominent portrait painter in the Netherlands. Late in 1640 he moved to London to associate Anthony van Dyck’s studio as a pupil and assistant, but had Tiny time to learn from Van Dyck himself as the latter fell ill and died in 1641. Beck possessed the forgiveness of hand and readiness, or rather keenness of execution, for which Van Dyck was hence remarkable, in in view of that much that behind Charles I observed the expeditious ventilate of Beck’s painting, he exclaimed, “Faith! Beck, I recognize you could paint riding post” and asked him to tutor his sons drawing.

He taught drawing to Charles II of England and his brothers James II of England, and Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester. After the outbreak of the English Civil War that eventually led to the realization of his patron Charles I, Beck left England to travel with mention to the courts of Europe. In 1647, he was appointed portrait painter and valet de chambre to Queen Christina of Sweden in Stockholm, and he executed portraits of most of the sovereigns of Europe to adorn her gallery.

Christina sent him on tour to the European courts, apparently afterward for diplomatic purposes. While ill in Germany he was thought dead and prepared for burial, but he revived and was gradually restored to life. He united Christina’s court once again in Rome in 1655, followed her to France in 1656. He asked leave from her company to visit his associates and associates in the Netherlands, which according to Houbraken was adjoining her wishes. His death at The Hague that same year was suspected of mammal due to poisoning.

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