Pieter Codde

Born: December 11, 1599  - Death: October 12, 1678    Located in: The Rembrandt Room

Codde was a Dutch painter of genre works and portraits, also known to be a poet. He is said to have studied with Frans Hal, but it is more likely that his training was with a portrait painter, Barent van Someren (1572 – 1632) or possibly with Cornelis van der Voort (1576 – 1624). His earliest work is known to be a piece from 1626, Portrait of a Young Man, now in the Ashmolean of Oxford. (Grove Dictionary of Art)

Most of his best remembered works were executed in Amsterdam and were small-scale paintings. They were distinct in their silvery-gray tonalities, and many were musically themed, such as his first known genre work, Dancing Lesson (Louvre, Paris) from 1627, Musical Company of 1639, The Lute Player (Philadelphia Museum of Art) and, Concert, a piece now in the Uffizi Gallery. (Kren and Marx, Web Gallery of Art) The other piece by Codde in the Uffizi Gallery is a genre work, Conversation. Codde also painted historical religious works, such as his, Adoration of the Shepherds, from 1645 in the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam.

Though it is unknown whether he actually studied with Frans Hals, his style is undoubtedly similar in some respect. He was commissioned in 1637 to complete an unfinished work of Hals, Officers of the Company of the Amsterdam Crossbow Civic Guard Under Captain Reynier Reael and Lieutenant Cornelis Michielsz Blaeuw. While the choice of Codde to complete this work by Hals was not an obvious selection at the time, Codde’s work in the portrait matched the original so well, that it is still not totally agreed who painted what. Though, the Rijksmuseum, which now houses the work, notes that Codde’s style is recognizable smoother. It’s thought that Hals completed only the outline of the composition, with some faces and hands, and one figure on the far left; the rest was executed entirely by Codde. The piece has become known as, The Meagre Company, from a comment by the critic, Jan van Dijk who said the work was barren and frail, so it “might rightfully be called the meagre company.” (Kren and Marx, Web Gallery of Art)

One of Codde’s pupils was Willem Duyster.

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