Gerson Digital : Germany I


1.5 Itinerant Portrait Painters

The same goes for some Dutch portrait painters who recorded the likenesses of princes and other high-raking personalities. Queen Christina of Sweden, for example, sent her court painter David Beck (1621-1656) to all courts in Germany, to have the potentates immortalized by him, thereby sending her own portrait as a present.1 Christian V had a similar mission for the Dutch painter Toussaint Gelton (c. 1630-1680) at the courts of Saxony and the Elector Palatine.2 In 1653 Bartholomeus Meyburgh (1624/25-1708/9) and Christoffel Pierson (1631-1714) travelled to Germany together and both painted portraits of Field Marshal Carl Gustav Wrangel (1613-1676), who stayed in the duchy of Pommerania, which was devolved to Sweden at the time.3

Grand, pompous state occasions and festivities always lured portrait painters. The Peace of Münster in 1648 and the coronation of Emperor Leopold in Frankfurt ten years later were such events, that brought together many gentlemen who might desire their portraits to be painted. Gerard ter Borch II (1617-1681) already went to Münster in 1646. He portrayed several envoys and became acquainted there with his future patron, Don Caspar de Bracamonte y Guzmán, Conde de Peñeranda (1596-1676), who took him to Spain. His portrait [1] and several others from this time have been preserved [2].4

On his own account and risk, he created the famous painting of the oath of the treaty of Münster (London, National Gallery) [3].5 At the time, nobody was willing to spend the 6,000 florins Ter Borch asked for it. The artist kept the painting his whole life, and later Houbraken saw it with a family member, treasurer Bernard Heindentrijk ter Borch in Deventer.6

Gerard ter Borch (II)
Portrait miniature of Don Caspar de Bracamonte y Guzmán, Conde de Peñeranda (1596-1676), head of the Spanish delegation at the peace negotiations at Münster, c. 1647-1648
copper, oil paint 10,5 x 9 cm
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, inv./ 2529

Gerard ter Borch (II)
The arrival of Adriaen Pauw and his wife Anna van Ruytenburgh in Münster in 1646, c. 1646
canvas, oil paint 98,5 x 159 cm
lower left : GTBorch
Münster, LWL - Museum für Kunst und Kultur, inv./ 210 LG

Gerard ter Borch (II)
The Treaty of Munster, 15 May 1648, dated 1648
copper, oil paint 45,4 x 58,3 cm
upper left : GTBorch. F.Monasterij.A.1648
London, National Gallery (London), inv./ NG896

Pieter Holsteyn (II) after Gerard ter Borch (II)
Portrait of Adriaan Pauw (1585-1653), dated 1646
paper, engraving 215 x 132 mm
The Hague, RKD – Nederlands Instituut voor Kunstgeschiedenis (Collectie Iconografisch Bureau)

Maybe Ter Borch brought Pieter Holsteyn II (c. 1614-1673) -- who lived for a while in Zwolle -- with him to Münster in 1646, but Holsteyn was already back in Enkhuizen in 1647.7 He only engraved a few portraits after Ter Borch [4]. The fairly unknown Jean Baptist Floris (c. 1616/17-1655) painted 34 portraits of negotiators in Münster for 10 Thaler each [5], which were shown there as creations of Ter Borch.8 Prince Frederik Hendrik sent his Flemish-born court painter Anselm van Hulle (1601-in or after 1674) to Münster as well, to paint the delegates of the peace negotiations.9 Only few of the paintings survived; some of them were given to the Great Elector, others arrived in Sweden.10 Many of Van Hulle’s portraits were engraved and assembled in one large publication, that saw many editions, to which more and more portraits were added.11 Frederik Hendrik didn’t live to see the first one, since he had died already in 1647.

Jean Baptist Floris after Anselm van Hulle
Portrait of Johan Maximiliaan van Lamberg (1608-1682), 1648-1649
canvas, oil paint 73,5 x 60,5 cm
Münster, Historisches Rathaus Münster (Friedenssaal)

The coronation of Leopold I (1640-1705) [6] as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in Frankfurt in 1658 attracted fewer Dutch artists. Wallerant Vaillant (1623-1677) from Lille and his brother Bernard (1632-1698)12 made use of the opportunity to go to Germany, where a series of Wallerant’s beautiful chalk drawings on blue paper originated [7-10].13 Also to Frankfurt came Pieter Donker (c. 1635-1668) from Gouda, who received his training in Antwerp.14

Cornelis van Dalen (II) after Wallerant Vaillant
Portrait of Leopold I (1640-1705), Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, 1658-1659
paper 572 x 531 mm
Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet, inv./ RP-P-1892-A-17258

Wallerant Vaillant
Portrait of Johann Georg II, Elector of Saxony (1613-1680), c. 1658
blue paper, black chalk, heightened in white 574 x 452 mm
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Kupferstich-Kabinett, inv./ C 1980-509

Wallerant Vaillant
Portrait of Leopold I (1640-1705), Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, c. 1658
blue paper, black chalk, heightened in white 570 x 453 mm
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Kupferstich-Kabinett, inv./ C 1980-507

Wallerant Vaillant
Portrait of Markgrave Wilhelm von Baden, c. 1658
blue paper, oil chalk, heightened in white 497 x 379 mm
Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, inv./ I 555/47/7

Wallerant Vaillant
Portrait of Prince Rupert of the Palatine (1610-1682), Duke of Cumberland, c. 1658
blue paper, black chalk, heightened in white 552 x 443 mm
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Kupferstich-Kabinett, inv./ C 1980-513


1 [van Leeuwen 2017] Quoted from Houbraken 1718-1721, vol. 2, p. 84.

2 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Details from this trip are recorded in the Danish State Archive, see Rasmussen 1916/2015.

3 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Houbraken 1718-1721, vol. 2, p. 260-261.

4 [Gerson 1942/1983] Moes 1886; Hofstede de Groot 1907-1928, vol. 5 (1912), nos. 216, 240-242, 260. [Van Leeuwen 2017] McNeil Kettering/Van Suchtelen 1998.

5 [Van Leeuwen 2017] On loan to the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam since 2000; McNeil Kettering/Van Suchtelen 1998, no. 1; Wheelock et al. 2004, p. 72-74, no. 13, ill.

6 [Gerson 1942/1983] Houbraken 1718-1721, vol. 3 (1721), p. 34 and 40. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Erroneously Gerson mentions Zwolle instead of Deventer.

7 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Bredius 1890.

8 [Gerson 1942/1983] Moes 1886, p. 154 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Actually, Floris was an assistant in Anselm van Hulle’s studio, who started working on his own account.

9 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Dethlefs 1996.

10 [Van Leeuwen 2017] However, the portraits at Gripsholm are also all copies after Anselm van Hulle (Gripshom 1951-1952, vol. 1, nos. 236-264, 300, 177-784, 930, 979-980) . The artist stayed about 10 years in Germany: he followed the diplomats of the peace negotioations in Münster to Nürnberg, where the debriefing took place, and visited Kassel(1650), Dresden (1651), Vienna (1652), Gottorf (1653), after which he returned to Vienna. It is not clear when he returned to Gent.

11 [Gerson 1942/1983] It was he -- not Pieter Holsteyn -- who obtained the ‘octrooi’ (patent) for the portrait engravings. Bredius 1890A; Hazewinkel 1936. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Anselmus van Hulle: Les hommes illustres qui ont vécu dans le XVII. siecle: les principaux potentats, princes, ambassadeurs et plenipotentiaires qui ont assisté aux conferences de Munster et d'Osnabrug avec leurs armes et devises / dessinez et peints au naturel par le fameux Anselme van Hulle, peintre de Frederic Henri de Nassau, Prince D'Orange, et gravez par les plus habiles maîtres, Amsterdam (David Mortier) 1648, 131 p. Translation of: Celeberrimi ad pacificandum christiani nominis orbem: legati Monasterium et Osmabrugas, ex omni pene gentium nationumque genere missi; ad vivum Anselmi van Hulle penicillo expressi, eiusque cura et aere, per insigniores huius aevi sculptores caelo repraesentati.- Antverpiae: apud Danielem Middelerium 1648 (The Hague, Peace Palace Library). All 133 engravings are found in Wikimedia.

12 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Gerson erroneously mentions Jacques instead of Bernard Vaillant. Possibly their brother Jean (Jan) Vaillant (1627-1672) joined them as well In Frankfurt. See also § 5.3. On the activity of their baby-brothers Jacques (1643-1691) and Andries Vaillant (1655-1693) in Berlin: § 2.8. On the Vaillant family: Vandalle 1937.

13 [Van Leeuwen 2017] There are several series by Wallerant Vaillant related to the event in 1658 in German collections, f.e. in Dresden and Karlsruhe, on blue, grey or green paper, mostly about 57 x 46 cm. Repetitions are widely scattered. Wallerant already made portraits on coloured paper successfully since the late 1640s. On the drawings of Wallerant and Bernard: Jeffares 2006, p. 523-526, ill. and Rogeaux 2001. Confusion between the drawings of Wallerant and Bernard persists (Jeffares 2006, p. 524).

14 [Van Leeuwen 2017] There is no documentary evidence for the claim that Donker received his training in Antwerp. He was said to have been active as a portrait painter during the event; no trace of this has survived or surfaced. The next year he left for France, on his way to Italy, where he stayed about seven years (Thieme/Becker 1907-1953, vol. 9 [1913], p. 444; Saur 1992-, vol. 11 [1995], p. 228-229 [under Jan de Bisschop], vol. 28 [2001], p. 561).

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