Popular with painters during the early 1600s, copper sheets were used by Jan Brueghel the Elder, Adam Elsheimer, David Teniers the younger, William Blake, and Joseph Stella, among others.
His later portraits and domestic genre paintings grew lighter, and gave insight into home life at the time. His portrayal of fabrics is outstanding.
He innovated with full-length portraits, then from those developed domestic genre scenes which influenced Vermeer. He was born 400 years ago this month.
There are many important anniversaries to celebrate in paintings this year: here are some tasters.