Salomon de Braij (de Bray)

Dutch (1597 - 1664)
Salomon de Braij (de Bray) The Twins Clara and Aelbert de Braij (de Bray) About 1646 reproduced courtesy of a Private Collection on long term loan to the National Galleries of Scotland

Biography

Born 1597
Died 1664
Nationality Dutch

Salomon de Braij (de Bray) was a versatile artist and writer of in Haarlem in the first half of the seventeenth century. He was born in Amsterdam, where he possibly trained with Pieter Lastman. By 1617 the catholic artist had settled in Haarlem, where was based for the rest of his career. In 1625 he married Anna Westerbaen with whom he had at least ten children, among them the sons Jan, Dirck and Joseph, who all became painters. De Braij was multi-talented; mainly active as a painter, draughtsman and architect, he also worked as a designer of silverware, published on architecture and town planning, and wrote poetry. He is said to have known Greek, Latin, French, and Italian. Most of his paintings are small and depict themes from the Bible, less frequently from ancient history or mythology. De Braij also painted so-called tronies (Dutch for ‘faces’), imaginary heads or busts, often in fantasy costumes. Between 1649 and 1651 he painted three large canvasses for the decoration of Huis ten Bosch (The Hague), the summer residence of Princes Amalia van Solms. De Bray was active in the local civic guard as well as the St Lucas Guild. He died 1664, when Haarlem was suffering from the plague, killing also four of his children.