Offered by: Spectandum
By Appointment Only Leuven , Belgium Call Seller 32475648678


17th C, Baroque, Portrait of a Gentleman in three-quarter-length, c. 1670

Price Upon Request
  • Description
    The 39-year-old gentleman had himself portrayed as an aristocrat in an idyllic landscape. At the time, parks and forests were environments associated with the lands and pastimes of the nobility.
    The sitter’s social position is also evident from his fashion-conscious look. He has put on a reddish-brown justacorps (a knee-length coat) with gold-coloured buttons. Under this vest, he seems to be wearing a simple white cravat. The blue sash with gold trim around the man’s waist can mark (high) military rank. This accessory was usually part of formal military attire. In some cases, the sash could also indicate the membership of a militia guild (like the “Kolveniers”).
    The provenance of the portrait is difficult to trace. However, on an old photograph of one of the rooms of the castle ‘Ter Meeren’ in Zaventem, the painting is clearly visible. The estate owned Auguste Braun, a lawyer at the Court of Cassation in Belgium.
    Did the portrait belong to Mr Braun’s family property, or did he purchase it? Would it be possible that the portrait was bought together with the castle that noble families owned for centuries?
    The gentleman’s long, curled locks fall on his red cloak. This is again another element that gives the portrayed a distinguished appearance. The slightly twisted pose of the sitter lends depth to the composition. His graceful posture – holding his right hand in his loin and letting his left armrest on a balustrade - clearly breaks with the stiff Dutch portraits of the first half of the 17th century. At the end of the 17th century, the atmosphere could be a bit more playful and frivolous.
    The style and painterly quality of the work seem to indicate that the portrait was painted by Nicolaes Maes and his studio assistants. Although the master from Dordrecht painted portraits and genre scenes at the beginning of his career, he profiled himself fully as a portrait painter from the late 1650s onwards. From about 1670, Maes chose to portray his clients in an idealized environment with allures that referred to the upper class, as is the case for this gentleman’s portrait. When the artist settled in Amsterdam in 1673, his clientele expanded considerably. In addition to notables from Dordrecht and Utrecht, now also administrators of the VOC, naval officers, professors and theologians from Amsterdam and other cities knocked on his door to immortalise themselves on canvas. The increase in orders resulted in Maes’ atelier working very efficiently to meet the high demand. Customers could now choose a portrait type from several standardized examples of portrait formulas. In other words, they could choose in advance a certain pose, specific gestures and backgrounds, and so on. The lively portrait of this elegant gentleman has a balanced composition and certainly appeals through the psychologistic of the sitter’s personality. Despite the excellent quality of the painting, several technical aspects suggest that the portrait is mainly the result of studio work. Nicolaes Maes usually used smooth, powerful and broad brushstrokes that are less noticeable in this painting. The tactility of the depicted fabrics and the colour intensity that immediately catches the eye is completely single-handed paintings by Maes are less prominent here. Cleaning the painting and a new layer of varnish can probably restore the painting to its original splendour.
  • More Information
    Origin: Netherlands
    Period: Pre 18th Century
    Materials: Oil on canvas
    Condition: Good. This painting is in good condition.
    Creation Date: 1670
    Styles / Movements: Old Master
    Dealer Reference #: 1910
    Incollect Reference #: 460527
  • Dimensions
    W. 36.61 in; H. 43.7 in;
    W. 93 cm; H. 111 cm;
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