Pot was a Dutch painter, mainly of portraits and genre scenes. His noted training was under the Dutch Mannerist painter, Karel van Mander (1548 – 1606) in the city of Haarlem. Another prominent pupil of Mander was the portraitist Frans Hal (1580 – 1666), who also influenced Pot some. Pot’s paintings were sometimes allegorical in subject and he also painted historical works, such as his 1630 group portrait, Officers of the Civic Guard of Saint Adrian. He was also influenced by the genre painter and engraver, Willem Buytewech (1591 – 1625).
He was active in Haarlem and London, where many of his works survive today in museums and galleries. In Haarlem he received the position of dean in the City’s Painters Guild, holding the office sporadically between 1626 and 1635, among serving other duties for the Guild. He was commissioned in London to paint portraits of King Charles I (1600 – 1649) and Queen Henrietta Maria (1609 – 1669), probably executed around 1632. Pot’s style in genre scenes formulated what became known as ‘Merry Company’’ genre paintings. This included his 1635 piece, Portrait of a Young Woman, and it’s now lost companion piece. There is also his appropriately titled, 1630 piece, A Merry Company at Table. Both aforementioned paintings contained several inclusions of objects considered sensual symbolism. A Merry Company was itself set in a Brothel, a theme with noted popularity in the Dutch Genre style.
The latter piece also contains a common theme addressed in Pot’s works; beauty, age and death. This theme culminates in a well know piece he painted, Allegory of Vanitas, or simply called, Vanity. This piece also contains motifs and symbols of sensual love. Of his other well know genre paintings were A Startling Introduction, The Coin Collector and his Flora’s Wagon of Fools, in which he poked fun at the fledgling Tulip trade in Haarlem, where for a short while the floral was sold by weight. His painting The Miser, another genre portrait, now hangs in the Uffizi Gallery.
His more standard, though still stylish, portrait works include his Portrait of Sir Robert Phelips and his works of the King and Queen of England.
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