Tobias Verhaecht (1561-1631)

Tobias Verhaecht was a Flemish painter best-known for his landscape paintings. He was the first teacher of Rubens, though their relationship was brief.

Verhaecht specialized in the traditional style of “world landscape,” for which Pieter Brueghel the Elder was well-known, and also completed several paintings of the Tower of Babel, which contain figures by Jan Brueghel the Elder or his studio. Early in his career, Verhaecht was active in Florence, where he worked under the patronage of Francesco I, Grand Duke of Tuscany. In 1590, he joined Antwerp’s Guild of Saint Luke and was appointed as deacon several years later. In 1594, Archduke Ernst of Hungary commissioned Verhaecht to design the decorations for his triumphal entry into Antwerp.

Like his father, Verhaecht was active in the Gillyflower, a rhetorician’s chamber in Antwerp. In 1620, he wrote a comedy for them and provided two complete costumes for the chamber’s torch-bearers.

Verhaecht was married twice and had five children. He married Suzanna van Mockenborch, a distant relative of Rubens, in 1591. He married Esther Pamphi in 1596, a year after Suzanna’s death.

-Rigby Philips

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