* 1583 Amsterdam
† 1633 Amsterdam
Pieter Lastman is regarded one of the most influential masters of Dutch history painting and early baroque.
Pieter Lastman was born son of a goldsmith in Amsterdam in 1583. He presumably served an apprenticeship with Gerrit P. Sweelink, who, on his part, was a student of Cornelis van Haarlem. The mannerist imprint of the latter or that of a Hendrick Goltzius, also shaped Pieter Pietersz. Lastman's early period of artistic creation.
At the age of 19 Pieter Lastman went to Italy, he presumably spent several years in Rome. Dutch documents do not mention Pieter Pietersz. Lastman before 1607. He remained in Amsterdam up until the end of his life, presumably only interrupted by an undocumented sojourn to Copenhagen.
The time in Italy and especially contact with Adam Elsheimer's works were quite influential on the style of Pieter Lastman, which took on an increasingly personal appearance as of the second decade of the 17th century: Strong brightness contrasts and effectually modeled figures dramatize the scenery, which from that point on was especially concerned with biblical, mythological and historical occurrences. Pieter Lastman showed great mastery in creating narrations with an exactly characterized people staffage in elaborate, at times a little stiff compositions along with rich genre-like embellished side line stories.
With this narrative art Pieter Lastman reformed contemporary Dutch history painting. Not for nothing did his works realize top prices on the contemporary art market. For art history Pieter Lastman is remembered for another thing: He was the teacher of Jan Lievens and, most of all , of Rembrandt.
In 1633 Pieter Lastman died in his native town Amsterdam.