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In May of 1630, the exiled Queen of Bohemia, Elizabeth Stuart, sent a large painting to her brother, King Charles I of England. The work, a now-lost family portrait known since 1966 as Seladon and Astraea, was completed by the Dutch artist Gerrit van Honthorst. That this painting took Honoré d’Urfé’s pastoral romance L’Astrée as its source material has been proposed since the 1960s. This article argues for L’Astrée as an important part of Elizabeth and her husband’s self-identity in exile, and for Honthorst’s painting as a vital and overlooked token of friendship between both Elizabeth and her husband and Elizabeth and her brother. Drawing on early modern and ancient theorizations of friendship, kinship, and marriage as well as Elizabeth, Charles, and her husband Frederick’s letters, this article places Honthorst’s painting at the center of a complex network of reciprocal affection, political machinations, and court culture in the seventeenth century.

In: Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art / Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek Online

Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait (1434) has been a battleground of interpretation ever since Erwin Panofsky’s landmark 1934 essay on the painting. This article does not seek to resolve the uncertainties that remain concerning the names of the portrait’s subjects or the function that it served. Instead, it proposes to understand the relationship that the painting establishes between itself and its viewers, and to do so by considering the role of the canine companion at the couple’s feet. The dog in The Arnolfini Portrait is not only fundamental to the fellowship that Van Eyck invites us to feel both with himself and with his work; the dog’s role within the picture also nuances our understanding of Van Eyck’s own self-awareness as an artist and signals an opportunity to reconsider the limitations of traditional art-historical method.

In: Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art / Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek Online
Author: Larissa Weiler

During his time in England as the lead court artist, Anthony van Dyck came into contact with the English Virtuosi, their discourses and their practical research into nature. This article examines the connection between English virtuosity and ideal ideas of friendship and the role that the artist played in this. Argueing that Van Dyck was part of a friendly circle of said Virtuosi and reconstructing that circle on a small scale, it discusses the famous double portrait of Van Dyck and Endymion Porter as a portrait of friendship as well as a product of the symbiotic culture of friendship and English virtuosity and the making of knowledge that springs from it.

In: Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art / Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek Online

The affinity between the landscape painter Wu Li and François de Rougemont, a Jesuit missionary based in Changshu, is a rare example of friendship between a Chinese and a European in the seventeenth century. Their encounter, which seemingly resulted in the first Chinese painting partly dedicated to a European, evidences the role of the visual arts as a social lubricant. These arts included engravings imported from the Netherlands, works produced in China, and Sino-European co-productions. Aspects of patronage of Christian art in provincial China of the early Qing period come into closer view as well as, conversely, the Chinese view towards European art. Both men studied each other’s ideological background (respectively Confucianism and Catholicism) and their careful exchange oscillated between transactional strategy, cross-cultural curiosity, and, perhaps, affection.

In: Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art / Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek Online
Author: Erna E. Kok

In this article, the central issue is the interaction between Sandrart’s friendship networks, his art production and success in Amsterdam. His famous literary life’s work the Teutsche Academie, and Lebenslauf, his (auto) biography, will also be involved. Sandrart’s stay in Amsterdam (1637-1645) was the true springboard for his career. Upon arrival in Amsterdam, he immediately positioned himself in the network of influential entrepreneurs, connoisseurs and magistrates by moving into a patrician residence on the Keizersgracht. Sandrart’s wealthy bloedvrienden (family members) with important socio-political networks - the banker Johan de Neufville and the artist-agent Michel le Blon - further brokered easy access to the bourgeois elite network, which soon earned the aristocratic painter many important commissions. In the late 1630s and early 1640s, Sandrart was a pioneer in his use of the Van Dyckian way of portraying and a classicist Italian style in history painting. Although it took a further ten years before the change of style towards academism became definite in Amsterdam, Sandrart had been the artistic leader thereof. Moreover, he launched a new artists image and artistic lifestyle by positioning himself as the aristocratic-artist.

In: Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art / Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek Online
Author: Mayken Jonkman

This article discusses the complex and nuanced nature of friendship and gift-giving in the eighteenth-century Paris art world. By studying the case of the Dutch artist Gerard van Spaendonck (1746-1822) it is possible to gain insight into the essential role friendship played in the career trajectory of an artist of that time.

In: Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art / Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek Online
Author: Edward H. Wouk

The Portrait of Lambert Lombard of circa 1560 is unique among early modern likenesses in its intimate portrayal of an artist as friend. This essay moves beyond the questions of attribution that have hitherto dominated discussions of the painting and focuses instead on the dialogic encounter the image establishes between sitter and beholder. That encounter, I contend, reflects a novel period concept of friendship as a social ideal and as a model for artistic practice. Working within humanist frameworks, Lombard’s pupils actively constructed an image of their teacher as scholar and affectionate pedagogue. While other images of Lombard emphasized the artist’s erudition at the expense of his personal warmth, this disarmingly nonchalant portrait negotiates a balance between the aloof scholar and engaged friend. Like Dominicus Lampsonius’s biography of the artist, published in 1565, the Portrait of Lambert Lombard envisions the artist as a friend who is both erudite and loving.

In: Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art / Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek Online
Author: Joanna Woodall

This contribution focuses on a superb Dutch wine glass or roemer engraved by Maria Roemers Visscher (‘Tesselschade’) with the Latin motto, Sic Soleo Amicos (‘Thus am I accustomed to treat friends’). Roemers’ roemer is shown actively to have participated in a coterie of cultured men and women initially centred on her father Roemer Pieterszoon Visscher, whose friendly gatherings in the 1610s were animated by wine, song, emblems, poetry and comic and satirical literature. The roemer’s inscription characterises it as a speaking subject within this milieu and evokes the intersubjective character of friendships that were enacted through puns, metaphors, ironic wit and at times amorous play. The performance of mixed friendship through the gendered artistic practice of glass-engraving is compared with the pleasurable game of connecting word and image in emblems. Such activities both gave rein to, and reined in, embodied friendships between elite women and men within a pleasure-loving yet patriarchal society.

In: Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art / Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek Online