The Angel, Tobias and the Fish, ca. 1630


Pieter Pieterszoon Lastman was a Dutch painter who was extremely popular in his time. He painted primarily multifigured pictures of historical and mythological themes.
    His paintings were dramatic and brightly coloured. He used the narrative devices of animated gestures and facial expressions that he learned in Italy during his Italian period. To modern tastes his pictures tend to be distracting due to their accented details and use of the genre themes. Typical of his work is the Angel, Tobias and the Fish pictured above.
    His most important contribution in art history was that he was the teacher of Rembrandt and friend of Rembrandt in Amsterdam. He introduced Rembrandt to Italian high Renaissance art and helped to convince Rembrandt that it was not necessary to make the pilgrimage to Italy since there were so many wonderful collections of Italian paintings in the Holland to be seen. He himself had an impressive collection of Italian art works.
    Lastman and Rembrandt developed a friendship, that although rocky at times was to last until the death of Lastman. Lastman and Jan Lievens both were responsible for Rembrandt leaving the employ of Lastman and opening his own studio.

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