The Hague 1583 - Utrecht 1648
Little is known of Hendrick Goudt’s artistic training, but it is thought that he studied calligraphy and engraving with Jan van de Velde the Elder, and may have also had lessons in printmaking from Simon Frisius. As a draughtsman, he was strongly influenced by Jacques de Gheyn II, with whom he may have studied in his native city of The Hague. Goudt is thought to have travelled to Italy in 1604, and by 1607 is recorded as living in the house of the German painter Adam Elsheimer in Rome. He is again documented there in 1609, although it remains unclear whether he was formally a pupil of the elder artist. Goudt was, nevertheless, the artist closest to Elsheimer, and made a handful of superb prints after the latter’s paintings which served to spread the posthumous reputation of the German painter and, by extension, his own. (Indeed, Goudt’s entire oeuvre as a printmaker consists of seven engravings after Elsheimer.) Following Elsheimer’s death in 1610, Goudt returned to the Netherlands - taking with him a number of paintings by Elsheimer that he had acquired and of which he made engravings - and by 1611 had settled in Utrecht, where he is recorded as a member of the local guild of artists. He seems to have stopped working after the last of his prints after Elsheimer was published, in 1613. Around 1620 Goudt seems to have become severely mentally ill, and by 1625 had been declared legally incompetent. He died in 1648, suffering from mental derangement.
As a draughtsman, Goudt worked primarily in pen and ink, producing figural groups, landscapes and Biblical subjects. He also made a number of highly detailed pen and ink drawings on vellum for collectors, as well as a handful of engravings printed on silk. His drawings are difficult to accurately date, however, since only one sheet is dated; a copy of a print by Lucas van Leyden, executed in 1600. While Goudt’s early drawings show the influence of De Gheyn, his mature draughtsmanship is heavily indebted to the manner of Elsheimer; indeed, the figure drawings of the two artists have long been confused. Indeed, an album of nearly 180 drawings of figural groups by Goudt, in the collection of the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, was acquired by the museum in 1868 as the work of Elsheimer.