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Son and pupil of Hendrick de Keyser (1565-1621), the outstanding Dutch sculptor, Thomas de Keyser was municipal architect to the City of Amsterdam from 1662 until his death (he added the cupola to van Campen's Town Hall), but he is better known as a portrait painter. He was indeed, Amsterdam's leading portraitist before being overtaken in popularity by Rembrandt in the 1630s. His life-size portraits look stiff compared with Rembrandt's and he is more attractive and original on a small scale. Constantin Huygens and His Clerk (National Gallery, London, 1627) is an excellent example of one of his small portraits of full-length figures in an interior, forerunners of the conversation pieces. His small equestrian portraits were also a new type (Pieter Schout, Rijksmuseum, 1660).
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