Een portret van Pieter Aertsen en de Amsterdamse portretschilderkunst 1550-1600

in Oud Holland – Journal for Art of the Low Countries
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The portrait of Symon Marten Dircksz. (1504-1574) preserved in Athens (fig. I, notes 1, 2), was identified on the strength of his coat of arms. The sitter was a staunch Catholic and held high offices in the Amsterdam city government. His portrait, dated 1565, is the earliest specimen of a type that was produced during the last decades of the sixteenth century by the sons of Pieter Aertsen (1507/ 08-1574), Pieter (1540/41-1603) and Aert Pietersz. (1550-1612) (figs. 2, 3, 4, 8, 9). In view of the documented relations between Pieter Aertsen and various prominent Amsterdam citizens and also because of clearly Mannerist features, the portrait may be attributed to the father. It holds a place of its own among Amsterdam portraits of the period and does not relate to any traditional portrait type either in Amsterdam or in Antwerp, where Aertsen had worked until C. 1555. In spite of similarities in the sitters' postures and the ornate background, the portraits attributable to Pieter Pietersz. and Aert Pictersz. (figs. 2, 3, 4, 8, 9) show the style of a younger generation; pictorial space is rendered in a credible way and the figures also appear more three-dimensonal. A late example is the portrait of Hendrick Buyck, signed by Aert Pietersz. and dated 1605 (fig. 8, note 28). The sitter was a successful merchant and joined the Reformed Church, as did most of his brothers and sisters. His portrait contains a wealth of details which may in part point to the traditional idea of transience but also convey information of a more personal nature, as do the texts on the pages of a open cash-book. At his death in 1613 Hendrick Buyck's estate included a small number of paintings, mostly portraits, and one of The Four Evangelists by Pieter Aertsen ('Lange Pier'). This picture may be tentatively identified with one now at Aachen (fig. 10, note 46). A copy of it bears the date 1613 and was in all likelihood made for some member of the Buyck family when the original was inheritcd by the Protestant Hendrick's illegitimate son. The original bears the date 1559 and may well have already been in the possession of Hendrick's grandfather, Cornelis Buyck, who was Pieter Aertsen's neighbour until his death in 1562. POSTSCRIPT HUYBRECHT BEUCKELAER : AN ANTWERP SOLUTION FOR AN AMSTERDAM AND AN ENGLISH PROBLEM The long-standing debate as to whether or not the Monogrammist HB or Hb (figs. 11 and 12) could be identical with Joachim Bcuckclacr, was convincingly settled by Detlev Kreidl (note 27). This author not only analyzed the artist's distinct style but also showed that it was connected with that of Agnolo Bronzino, in whose studio the Monogrammist probably worked. Infrared reflectography subsequently revealed that the Kitchen-maid with a boy and a girl in Brussels (fig. 12), usually thought to be by Pieter Aertsen but attributed by Kreidl to the Monogrammist, bears the signature in full of one H[uybrecht] Beuckelaer, probably a brother of Joachim (note 27). Documents provide scant information on the artist's life. There is evidence of extensive travelling in 1567/68; a letter of 1574 was sent from Bordeaux. His earliest works date from 1563 but only in 1579 did he become a master in the Antwerp guild. This surprisingly late date may be accounted for by the assumption that until then the artist merely (or mainly) assisted other painters. Van Mander relates that Joachim Beuckelaer assisted Antonis Mor for davwages by painting the sitters' attire in their portraits. This piece of information would however seem rather to apply to Huybrecht, who (contrary to Joachim) paid much attention to the rendering of his figures' clothes. An example of his collaboration with Mor may well be the portrait of a nobleman, signed bv Mor and dated 1561, in the Mauritshuis, The Hague (fig. 15, note 64). A number of features in this picture recur in the Brussels Prodigal Son, which bears Huybrecht Beuckelaer's monogram (fig. 11). Huybrecht appears also to have been a portrait painter in his own right. The Style of his Prodigal Son may be recognized in a portrait of Thecla Occo, a member of the powerful Catholic family of that name in Amsterdam (fig. 13, notes 11 and 52). This picture suggests that Huybrecht was familiar with Mor's 1559 portrait of the wife of Jean le Cocq, now in Kassel, where a similar dog (a symbol of conjugal fidelity) lies in its mistress's arm. However, the main inspiration for the style of the Occo portrait comes from portraits Bronzino painted in the mid-1550s. This is borne out by the build of the tall figure with a slender hand dangling from an arm-rest as well as by the narrow shape of the head, enhanced by the strong shadow zone along the right side of the face (cf. fig. 14). From this (and from a similar case to be discussed below) it may be inferred that Huvbrecht visited Bronzino's workshop carly in his career, before working in Mor's studio around 1560. After 1584 there is no further mention of Huybrecht Beuckelaer in Antwerp documents. There is however evidence that he settled in England, probably after the taking of Antwerp by the Spaniards in 1585. A first clue to this effect is supplied by a portrait of Francis Cottington (1578/79-1652), later first Lord Cottington, that was sold at auction in 1922 (fig. 16, note 65). The picture is in many respects very similar to the Prodigal Son though it must, judging by the sitter's age and costume, be dated to the years around 1600, possibly to 1605 when Cottington was appointed secretary to the English ambassador in Spain. The artist's style had remained remarkably constant over the years, and so had his use of Bronzino prototypes. The latter's portrait of the youthful Lodovico Capponi (New York, Frick Collection) must have been in Huybrccht's mind when he designed young Cottington's portrait (fig. 17). There must have been quite a few portraits of distinguished English patrons by Huybrecht Beuckelaer besides the one of Cottington (which is not documented). This is supported by inventories from the years 1583-1590 which mention works by one Hubbert or Hubbard, long considered to have been a Netherlandish artist named Hubert (or Huybrecht - the artist actually used both forms of his name). The works described (notes 72, 73, 75 -77) were mostly portraits. But the earliest mention of his name occurs in connection with A Butcher and a Maid Buying Meat in the Earl of Leicester's collection in 1583. This was obviously a work in the Aertsen-Beuckelaer tradition, such as one might expect from Huybrecht Beuckelaer.

Een portret van Pieter Aertsen en de Amsterdamse portretschilderkunst 1550-1600

in Oud Holland – Journal for Art of the Low Countries



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