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A Dutch painter, c.1629-1684, one of the greatest of that era's depictors of still life, still interior, still exterior. De Hooch (also spelt de Hoogh, both pronounced d'HOHKH) showed clean, quiet, swept courtyards, with a few people in them, but the people don't seem to be doing much. They have stopped. There is no busyness in them.

He is the polar opposite of Vermeer. Where Vermeer paints light, people's emotions caught in a luminous, otherworldly stillness, de Hooch paints a factitive, solid, precise, countable world. His objects are bricks, tiles, brooms, buckets. Vermeer showed them only as the background from which the inner life stands out. De Hooch's light is impersonal, often hard. And it floods the scene. It comes from the front, and from everywhere: a studio light. Perhaps his best known image is the Courtyard of a House in Delft, in the National Gallery, London.

He was born in Rotterdam. He moved to Delft in or before 1654, and to Amsterdam in about 1665. In Delft he came under the influence of Vermeer: the exact relationship between them is unknown. He died in the Amsterdam dolhuys, or madhouse.

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