Adam Williams Fine Art Ltd
The versatile painter Cornelis Bisschop of Dordrecht was a master of genre, allegorical, mythological, and religious subjects, as well as being an accomplished portraitist. He was apprenticed to his fellow-townsman Ferdinand Bol, who was by then established in Amsterdam. Bol's influence is unmistakable in the strong contrasts between light and shade found in Bisschop's paintings. In his domestic gernre scenes Bisschop drew inspiration from the work of Nicolaes Maes and Samuel van Hoogstraten, and his best interior scenes are equal to those of Pieter de Hooch. Many of his works have been confused with those of Maes, in large measure because of his lavish use of a strong red color reminiscent of that used by Maes. The silvery blue he often used recalls a similar tone found in works by Vermeer of Delft.
Bisschop’s quiet elegant colors enhance his portraits, where his subjects, following the fashion of the second half of the 17th century, appear in elaborate costume that contrasts with the lifelike handling of their faces, which reveal very individual and open character. In his elaborate portraits and regent pieces his work recalls that of B. van der Helst.
In 1653 Bisschop set up his studio in Dordrecht and married Geertruyt Botland, with whom he had twelve children. Bisschop spent almost his entire career in Dordrecht. It is remarkable that his name and reputation were widely known among his contemporaries in Holland and abroad. Shortly before his death, Bisschop was even invited by the King of Denmark to become his court painter. His pupils included his sons Jacobus and Abraham.