Biography of Herman Smorenburg

Author: Merel van den Nieuwenhof

Dutch painter Herman Smorenburg was born in Alkmaar on the seventh of June 1958. At an early age Herman, who grew up with two brothers and one sister, was fascinated by the possibility of expressing his imagination by drawing and painting. When he reached the age of fifteen, a major development took place in his inner life which drove him to tread a path which he has followed until today: the great search into the mysteries of consciousness and the exploration of its hidden dimensions.

Although Herman had already developed a great sensitivity to the beauty and the immensity of nature, and although some aesthetic experiences with nature had already settled in the chambers of his subconscious mind, the discovery and practice of meditation and spirituality enriched his consciousness and intensified his experiences. Life, with all its hidden dimensions and possibilities, started to reveal itself to Herman as an unimaginable adventure, in which he had just made his first steps.

At this stage, visual art that examines the deeper experience of reality by way of images and symbols, began to have a tremendous impact on the young artist’s mind. The confrontation with Salvador Dali’s surrealistic art, the symbolists of the nineteenth century and the imaginative worlds of the famous Dutch artists Carel Willink and Johfra left imprints in Herman’s young and susceptible mind, which, in the course of time ripened and developed into his own magical dream worlds. These imprints, furthermore, laid the foundations for his study of classical painting techniques.

After completing his secondary teacher training course in Amsterdam, Herman lived a contemplative life in England for some time. He preferred it to a life as a teacher of arts and crafts at a secondary school. While in England, he visited the special exhibition of the Pre-Raphaelites and their contemporaries at the London Tate Gallery. For several years, the paintings of the English masters shown at this exhibition greatly affected the work of the young Dutch painter. Until today, the love of craftsmanship and the poetic ability of British nineteenth century art remains a great source of inspiration to him.

The English period’ also had a major influence on Smorenburg’s private life. He met his wife in England and after some time they moved to Holland. They started a family and for nearly fifteen years he worked as a teacher, a profession that he retreated from about fifteen years ago. Today, he works as a full-time painter.

Meanwhile Herman Smorenburg contributed to several exhibitions throughout the Netherlands and abroad.