(b Helsingør [Elsinore], 1624; d Rome, 3 Feb. 1687). Danish painter, active mainly in Italy, where he was known as ‘Monsù Bernardo’; he was the first painter from his country to enjoy more than a local reputation. Keil studied in Copenhagen and then with Rembrandt in Amsterdam, c.1642–4. In 1651 he moved to Italy, where he lived for the rest of his life, settling in Rome in 1656. ‘Life-size genre pictures of a few figures were his speciality. His themes are often related to simple allegorical subjects such as the Five Senses, the Seasons, and the Four Elements, and as protagonists he favoured dignified old people or children dressed in old clothes and rags’ (Seymour Slive, Dutch Painting: 1600–1800, 1995). Keil provided Filippo Baldinucci with information about Rembrandt that he used in his book on engraving and etching (1686).
From The Oxford Dictionary of Art in Oxford Reference.