Karel Dujardin was a painter, watercolourist, engraver and draughtsman of religious and allegorical subjects as well as portraits, genre scenes and landscapes.
Biographers are unable to agree on the exact date and place of Dujardin’s birth. Although most authors give Amsterdam as his place of birth in either 1634 or 1635, still others give his year of birth as 1622.
According to Houbraken, Dujardin was a pupil of Nicolaes Berchem or Paulus Potter. He was also trained by van Laar and Le Bamboche in Italy. He is believed to have joined the Schildersbent, the Netherlandish artists society founded in Rome in 1623, which gave him the nickname of Bokkbaart due to his goatee beard. The Italians appreciated and valued Dujardin’s pictures and were willing to pay high prices for his works. Despite his success in Italy, Dujardin returned to Holland around 1655. In 1656 in the Hague, he was invited to become commissioner of the Guild of St. Luke, and became one of the founder-members of the Pictura confraternity of artists.
In his native country, as in Italy, his pictures were much sought-after and he was unable to meet the large number of commissions. He was also very popular in England. He painted family scenes, landscapes in which the soft sunlight of Italy was reflected, as well as religious subjects, scenes of rural life and animals. He was also noted for his portraits. He had a number of pupils: Willem Schellincks, Jan Lingelbach, Wilhelm Romeyn, Martinus Laeckerman, and Jacob van der Does.
Dujardin’s work is found in the Louvre as well as in other museums and private collections around the world.