Jan de BRAY 1627-1697
The Governors of the Guild of St Luke, Haarlem 1675
oil on canvas 130.0 x 184.0 cm
Young artists learned from their masters how to pre-treat canvases and panels, prepare paint, and practise copying the work of their teachers. When a pupil was finally ready to set himself up as an independent painter, he had to become a member of the local guild in order to actually carry out his profession. The painter of this rare portrait of a group of artists, Jan de Bray, was himself a governor of the Haarlem painters' guild. He is the second figure on the left, holding a panel. The professional organization for painters in each Dutch city was the Guild of St. Luke, named after the New Testament saint who is said to have painted a picture of the Virgin Mary. An image of St. Luke appears here on the plaque which the guild's deacon, Gerrit Mulraet, (seated in front of the table) is showing to the viewer.