Painter, draughtsman and etcher Willem Pietersz Buytewech (c. 1592–1624) died at the early age of 33. Born in Rotterdam, he served his apprenticeship mainly in Haarlem. He joined Haarlem’s St Luke’s guild in 1612, along with landscape artists Hercules Segers and Esaias van de Velde. In fact, Buytewech’s genre paintings have more in common with those of another member of the same guild: Frans Hals. Later, he returned to Rotterdam, where he lies buried at St Laurence’s or Great church. Contemporaries called Buytewech Witty Willem, referring to his pictures of groups of people having fun – he was one of the first Dutch artists to explore this theme.



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