Bouts, Dirck ca. 1415–1475 Dutch Painter

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Bouts, Dirck
ca. 1415–1475
Dutch painter

Painter Dirck Bouts of the Netherlands helped spread the influence of his homeland's art abroad. His style combined rich color with simple lines and an overall lack of movement. His works often suggest a feeling of quiet reflection. Critics particularly praised his landscapes for their sensitivity to the effect of natural light at different times of the day.

Born in Haarlem, Bouts probably received his training in art in that city. By 1457 he had settled in the town of Louvain and established a large workshop. Bouts trained his two sons in his workshop. One of them, Dirck Bouts the Younger, probably inherited the shop after his father's death. The other, Albert Bouts, established his own workshop in Louvain.

One of Bouts's major works is Holy Sacrament (1460s), a painting created to decorate the altar of the chapel at St. Peter's church in Louvain. The piece is a triptych, a set of three painted panels. The central panel shows a moment during the Last Supper of Christ, but it is set in a hall of the 1400s. The panels on either side of it illustrate scenes from the Old Testament of the Bible.

The high quality of this painting won Bouts a major assignment. The town council of Louvain hired Bouts to create two paintings for the new town hall: a triptych of the biblical Last Judgment and Examples of Justice from history. For his work on these projects, the council awarded Bouts the title of "city painter," a position that provided both good pay and high status. Bouts finished the Last Judgment in 1470 but died before completing Examples of Justice.

(See alsoArt in the Netherlands. )