Painter, etcher, commercial artist (male), draughtsman, art writer (male) and publisher
Arnold Houbraken was born on 28th March 1660 in Dordrecht. At the age of twelve he received drawing lessons from Willem van Drillenburg. A little later he became a pupil of Jacob Levecq and from about 1674 to 1678 of Samuel van Hoogstraten, whom he helped illustrate his painting treatise "Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst" (Rotterdam 1678). 1678 he joined the Dordrecht Guild of Saint Luke. In 1685 he married Sara Souburgh, with whom he moved to Amsterdam around 1709/10. With the exception of a nine-month trip to England, Houbraken lived in Amsterdam until his death on 14th October 1719. His artistic estate comprised 30 paintings which were auctioned in 1720. Besides historical paintings with biblical and mythological themes, he mainly created portraits. He also worked as a draughtsman and etcher and made sketches and etchings for book illustrations. His drawings were generally more highly valued than his paintings. More important than his artistic activity is his work as an art writer. Houbraken is the author of a three-volume biographical study on the Dutch painters of his time, published 1718−1721 under the title The Great Theatre of Dutch Painters (De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen).