Jacob de Wit
19.12.1695 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) - 12.11.1754 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
De Wit was the leading decorative painter of 18th-century Holland. Born in Amsterdam and having received his artistic training already at the age of 9, he was specialised in Rococo ceiling and room decorations and groups of putti painted naturalistically in colour, or as imitation reliefs in grisaille. He studied at the Antwerp Royal Academy and became a member of the Antwerp Guild of St Luke. In Antwerp De Wit studied the work of Rubens; copies of his ceiling paintings were particularly instructive for De Wit. He subsequently moved to Amsterdam, where he soon received commissions to decorate houses and church interiors with ceiling and door panels and colourful wall hangings. His smoothly painted grisailles - mostly of putti - imitating stucco reliefs, were called 'witjes' (a play on his name - Wit - meaning 'white'). Among his finest imitation reliefs, Joseph Gathering Corn during the Seven Years of Plenty hangs above a door in the Amsterdam City Hall (now the Royal Palace). Today, many of the buildings along the famous Amsterdam canals still have door or ceiling paintings by De Wit. His enormous output brought him great fame and fortune and his work is to be seen and admired in many large museums all over the world.