History painter, painter, landscape painter, draughtsman, staffage painter, etcher, commercial artist and court painter
Cornelis van Poelenburch was born around 1594/95 as the son of Simon van Poelenburch, canon of the cathedral chapter in Utrecht. Around 1611 he began his training under Abraham Bloemaert. He is documented in Italy in 1617, and in Rome he was one of the founding members of the 'bentvueghels', who nicknamed him "Satyr". In the early 1620s, van Poelenburch stood in the service of Grand Duke Cosimo II de' Medici in Florence, where he got to know Jacques Callot. Yet his dated drawings with Roman motifs show that he frequently moved about Italy during this time. Around 1625 he returned to his home town, and soon received prominent commissions. In the spring of 1627 Utrecht, as one of the seven states, ordered a 'Banquet of the Gods' as a gift for Amalia von Solms, the wife of the vice-regent Frederik Hendirk. On 30 May 1629, van Poelenburch married Jacomina van Steenre, and in the following year he was awarded citizenship. In 1631 he visited Paris. In the following years, he not only worked for the vice-regent of the Netherlands in The Hague; in 1637 he was appointed court painter to English King Charles I. Until 1641 he lived with interruptions in London. In 1642 he purchased two large houses in Utrecht with the inheritance from his father-in-law, giving him room to establish a workshop. In Utrecht's Guild of St Luke, he repeatedly assumed the offices of 'hoofdman' (captain) and dean. He died in July 1667 in his home town and was buried in the chapel of the Maria Magdalena Cloister. One of his pupils was Jan van Haensbergen, born in 1642, probably in Utrecht. From an inventory drawn up on the occasion of his second marriage in 1679, we learn that van Haensbergen owned various paintings by van Poelenburch, both originals and copies.