“Portret van Gaspard Duarte” Constantijn Huygens (I), 1657

Gaspar Duarte was born in 1584 and died in 1653. His parents were so-called “marranos,” or Jews who converted under pressure to Catholicism. The Duarte family left Portugal and settled in Antwerp to escape the infamous Inquisition.

Gaspar, together with his son Diego, was well known for buying and selling jewelry, especially diamonds, for which Antwerp is renowned to this day. Furthermore, he dealt in the sales of artwork. In 1609 he married Catharina Rodrigues. All their six children  received a thorough musical education; they learned to sing, play the harpsichord, the virginals, the lute and the viola da gamba as was usual in well-to-do-circles of musical amateurs during that time. Unfortunately, three of the four sisters – Leonora, Catharina and Francisca – died in the wave of pestilence that spread through the city of Antwerp in 1678.  The family’s musical circle, and the concerts they held for their guests became well-known and were frequented by eminent persons.


Spouses:  Catharina Rodrigues (1584-1644)
Sons: Diego (or Jacob, 1612-1691, Gaspar jr. (1616-1685)
Daughters: Leonora (b. 1610), Catharina (b. 1614), , Francisca jr. (b. 1619), and Isabella (1620-1685)

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