17th century portrait of a lady by Nicolaes Maes

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Object Description

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Portrait of a lady by Dutch Golden Age painter Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693). Half-length, within a feigned oval, the lady wears a pearl necklace and earrings, an ivory silk gown adorned with pearls with a crimson cloak, her dark brown hair dressed in the fashionable ringlet style of the period. She is presented against a landscape setting at dusk. Traces of signature bottom right. Circa 1671.
Dimensions 43.7cm x 33.1cm.

This is a classic example of Maes portraiture technique and style at the height of his career as the leading portrait painter of his time in the Netherlands. The sitter was in all likelihood the daughter or wife of a wealthy merchant, part of the affluent rising class keen to display their new found prosperity and success through commissioning portraits of their family wearing clothes made from luxurious fabrics and fine pearl jewellery.
The painting is registered as by Maes in the RKD records (Netherlands Institute for Art history) in The Hague, no. 150163.

Oil on canvas in a dutch style ebony frame.

Nicolaes Maes was one of Rembrandt’s most talented pupils. As a boy of about thirteen or fourteen, he left his parents’ home in Dordrecht to serve his apprenticeship with the master in Amsterdam. He spent four or five years in Rembrandt’s workshop, returning to Dordrecht in 1653 as a fully-fledged artist. Maes started out as a ‘history’ painter, following in Rembrandt’s footsteps, but he soon switched the focus of his activities to genre painting of intimate and detailed domestic scenes. In a short period between 1654 and 1658 he was one of the most innovative painters in this field. His experiments with rendering interiors, his eye for true-to-life details and the particular intimacy of his paintings had a major influence on painters like Pieter de Hooch and Johannes Vermeer.
Maes painted his first portraits in 1655, and shortly before 1660 he stopped painting genre works and other paintings altogether, concentrating solely on portraiture, eventually developing a colourful and elegant style that appealed to a broad circle of clients in Dordrecht, Amsterdam and beyond.

Object History

Sotheby’s, Amsterdam, 6 May 1998, lot 10
Kunstzalen A. Vecht, Amsterdam (2001)
Private collection, the Netherlands

Object Literature

L. Krempel, ‘Studien Zu Den Datierten Gemalden Des Nicolaes Maes’, Petersburg 2000
A. V. Suchtelen, ‘Nicolaes Maes – Innovation and Versatility’, from Dutch Master of the Golden Age, in association with the National Gallery , London and the Mauritshuis, The Hague, Yale University Press, 2020

Object Condition

Good, ready to hang condition

Object Details

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