Gerson Digital : Germany I


7.3 Portrait and Genre Painters in Vienna

Portraitists – and also the Rembrandt pupils were employed as such in Vienna ̶ always found customers at the imperial court. We only have to keep in mind that the Flemish painters were favoured here absolutely. From the few Dutchmen who could assert themselves, a good percentage was committed to the Southern Netherlandish way of portraiture. Anselm van Hulle (1601-after 1674), the former court painter of Frederic Henry of Orange, never completely denied his Flemish roots. Ferdinand III took him into his service and Van Hulle had to travel a lot on behalf of the emperor, to paint portraits of other rulers [1].

Vice versa we also hear, that lesser German princes sent their court painters to Vienna in order to portray the imperial couple. The elector of Brandenburg sent Jacob Vaillant and Elector Johann Wilhelm of the Palatine in 1686 the esteemed Jan Frans van Douven (1656-1627); the Empress Eleonora was the elector’s sister by the way, which makes his interest in the imperial family very understandable [2]. The German ambassador in The Hague, Count Zinzendorf, commissioned Carel de Moor (1655-1738) to paint the portraits of the great war heroes Eugene of Savoy [3] and John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and to send both paintings to Vienna.1

Jacobus de Baen (1673-c. 1700) and Franz de Hamilton (before 1640-after 1702) also lived in Vienna for a short while as portraitists, both probably on commission of some German prince [4].2 What Hendricus Bosch (c. 1686/87-after 1740) from Zwolle, mentioned in 1717 as ‘kunstschilder in Weenen’ [painter in Vienna] has achieved is unknown to us [5-7].3

Pieter de Jode (II) after Anselm van Hulle
Portrait of Frederick III, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp (1597-1659), after 1653
paper, copper engraving 346 x 259 mm
The Hague, Peace Palace Library

Jan Frans van Douven
Portrait of Eleonore Magdalena Theresia of the Palatine (1655-1720), dated 1706
canvas, oil paint 81 x 67 cm
on the back : J F Douven Pinxit 1706
Munich, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, inv./ 4089

Carel de Moor (II)
Portrait of a captain, possibly Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), c. 1711
canvas, oil paint 56 x 44,2 cm
lower left : C. de Moor
Sotheby's (London (England)) 1996-05-22 - 1996-05-24, nr. 77

Franz de Hamilton
The resting Infant Jesus, 1670s
canvas, oil paint 82 x 74 cm
lower right : F. de Hamilt...
Kroměříž, Zámek Kroměříž

Hendricus Bosch
Portrait of Josepha Countess von Schärffenberg, dated 1710
canvas, oil paint 69 x 53 cm
: H. Bosch fecit 1710
Dorotheum 1921-11-30 - 1921-12-03, nr. 19

Hendricus Bosch
Portrait of an unknown man, dated 1709
canvas, oil paint 47 x 38,5 cm
lower left :
Christie's 1982-12-05, nr. 99

Hendricus Bosch
Portrait of an unknown woman, dated 1709
canvas, oil paint 47 x 38,5 cm
lower right :
Christie's 1982-12-05, nr. 99

Pieter van Laer did not manage to get a position as court painter. Jan van Ossenbeeck (c. 1624-1674), who painted in Rome in the style of Bamboccio, had more luck. Maybe this was because he had good connections to Flemish artists. In Brussels he had contributed to the ‘Teniers’ Gallery’ (an illustrated printed catalogue of the Italian paintings of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm) [8] and later he was with Nikolaas van Hoy (1631-1679) in Rome, who took him to Vienna in 1669, where he actually became a court painter the next year.4

Ossenbeeck spent 1664 in the imperial encampment at Regensburg,5 where Balthasar de Monconys met him and bought some things from him. Ossenbeeck introduced a still-life painter ‘Corneille’6 to De Monconys, who -- we are not surprised anymore -- knew how to paint excellent ‘trompe-l’oeil’ paintings. This time it was a painting where a curtain was painted in a naturalistic way, that half covered the other objects [9-10].7 Ossenbeeck did not paint exclusively for the imperial court, but also for Viennese collectors like the Liechtensteins, the Wenzelsbergs [11-12] and others.8 He was active as an etcher and a teacher: the daughter of the merchant Wolfgang Wilhelm Prämer (1637-1716)9 tried to work in Ossenbeeck’s manner. We have every reason to assume that Ossenbeeck’s genre paintings in Bamboccio’s style were tamer and more pleasing than the paintings with beggars of Pieter van Laer.10

Jan van Ossenbeeck after Nikolaas van Hoy after Jacopo Bassano
The martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, c. 1656-1660
paper, etching, 1st state 174 x 176 mm
London (England), British Museum, inv./ S.4592

Cornelis Norbertus Gijsbrechts
Trompe l'oeil of a qoudlibet with violin, pistol and curtain to the left, dated 1664
canvas, oil paint 101,6 x 84,2 cm
lower center : C.N. Gijsbrechts/A° 1664
Ghent, Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent, inv./ 1914-IC

Cornelis Norbertus Gijsbrechts
Trompe l'oeil of a quodlibet with hourglass, razor, scissors and curtain, probably 1664
canvas, oil paint 101,9 x 83,4 cm
Ghent, Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent, inv./ 1911-HJ

Jan van Ossenbeeck
Landscape with a view on the summer house of Cunibertus von Wenzelsberg near Vienna, 1664
canvas, oil paint 87 x 101 cm
Private collection

Jan van Ossenbeeck
View of the summer house of Johann Cunibert of Wenzelsberg (1614-1683) near Vienna, dated 1664
paper, etching, copper engraving, 1st state 315 x 420 mm
lower left : Ossenbeeck / f 1664
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./ RP-P-1888-A-13811

Dutch genre painters are otherwise hardly to be found in Vienna. Martin Dichtl (c. 1639-1710) from Nuremberg made some paintings with peasants in the 1660s and 1670s, that remind one through their stiffness more to the Le Nains than to the Dutch masters [13-14].11

Martin Dichtl
Swabian farmer, dated 1669
canvas, oil paint 93 x 116 cm
lower left : M:Dichtl.F / 1668
Sibiu (Roemenië), Muzeul National Brukenthal, inv./ 313

Martin Dichtl
Swabian peasant woman with child
canvas, oil paint 93 x 116 cm
Sibiu (Roemenië), Muzeul National Brukenthal, inv./ 314

The later Dutch fine painters and history painters Herman Verelst (1641/42-1702) [15-16], Jacob Toorenvliet (1640-1719) and Christoph Toorenvliet and Mattheus Terwesten had more success.12 Especially the Toorenvliet and the Verelst manner found more appeal there. They knew how to process Rembrandt’s chiaroscuro into a pleasing subject and to provide every figure with a fine, smooth surface. The Toorenvliets had, apart from the Imperial house, more clients for the products of their pointed brushes [17-18].13

Herman Verelst
Portrait of Johann Jacob von Wiederkehr (1631-1702), dated 1678
canvas, oil paint 104 x 84 cm
center right : H. Verelst: / F: 1678
Ljubljana, Narodni muzej Slovenije, inv./ NG S 649

Herman Verelst
Portrait of Maria Elisabeth Toperzer (1655-1718), wife of Johann Jacob von Wiederkehr, c. 1678
canvas, oil paint 103 x 84 cm
Ljubljana, Narodni muzej Slovenije, inv./ NG S 634

Jacob Toorenvliet
Market scene with butcher and customer, dated 16[77]
canvas, oil paint 55 x 59 cm
lower left : J Toorenvliet Inventor et Fecit A° 16[77]
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 1725

Jacob Toorenvliet
An alchemist at work, dated 1676
copper, oil paint 23,5 x 19 cm
Private collection

In this context Jeronimus Joachims (c. 1619-1660) has to be mentioned too, who got married in Vienna in 1654 and from whom nothing more is known than a Resting Diana [19-20].14 Johanna Koerten (1650-1715) made paper cut-outs portraying the imperial family and state councilors, which were rewarded with unbelievably high prices.15

Jeronimus Joachims
Cymon and Iphigenia (Boccaccio, Decamerone 5:1)
canvas, oil paint 94 x 74 cm
lower left : Jer. Joachims F.
Carola van Ham 1971-03-24 - 1971-03-27, nr. 1305

Jeronimus Joachims
Portrait of Johann Rudolph Schmid, Baron von Schwarzemhorn, Ambassador of the Court of Vienna with the Sultan in Constantinople in 1651, dated 1651
copper, oil paint 67,7 x 83 cm
center : 1651
Vaduz/Vienna/Feldsberg (Südmähren), private collection Fürst von Liechtenstein


1 [Gerson 1942/1983] Houbraken 1719-1721, vol. 3, p. 345. [Van Leeuwen 2018] A funny story of De Moor painting Prince Eugene in 1711 is also mentioned by Sir James Thornhill, who visited the painter. De Moor told him that he had broken out in laughter at the second painting session and answered Eugene's astonished question about the reason. De Moor asked his highness whether he wanted to change his face or the image, because it was not the same as it was a day or two ago: his beard had grown and was covered with snuff tobacco (Braubach 1963-1965, vol. 5, p. 86-87). If this story is true or not is not sure. What we do know is that Eugene was not satisfied with the 'pretentious Dutchman' and as late as 1718 he gave his secretary Simon Mandacher the order to pay De Moor 150 ducats just to be rid of him, without sending him the 'bad painting' back though. This was still not the end of the story, as De Moor wrote to the prince in 1720, that he was still waiting for the money for the portrait (200 Louis d'or). Jan Kosten, collaborator to the Gerson Digital Project, suggests that the portrait can possibly be identified with the illustrated painting. In as much as the poor reproduction in the auction catalogue of 1996 allows to compare it with the known iconography of the prince's face, the identification seems to be plausible: see the long, egg-shaped face of the prince, the long straight nose with the flaring nostrils, the imperious arched eyebrows and the line drawn in the face.

2 [Van Leeuwen 2018] The information that Jacobus de Baen, son of Jan de Baen, followed a German prince from Rome to Vienna and died there soon, comes from Houbraken 1718-1721, vol. 2, p. 314; no works can be attributed to him with certainty. According to Thieme/Becker Franz de Hamilton was probably identical to a painter who was in Vienna in 1677 and painted Empress Leonora (Thieme/Becker 1907-1953, vol. 15 (1922), p. 552-553). However, no portraits of Franz de Hamilton are known to us at all. The trompe-l’oeil illustrated here must indeed have been painted in Vienna and harks back to the composition of Stosskopff of 1651 in the imperial collection (RKDimages 287676).

3 [Gerson 1942/1983] Haga 1938. [Van Leeuwen 2018] Ekkart indicated the portrait of Josepha Countess von Schärffenberg of 1710 as a work painted in Vienna (Ekkart 1972). Also the portraits of 1709 may have been created there.

4 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Teniers 1660; Vegelin van Claerbergen et al. 2006-2007.

5 [Van Leeuwen 2018] The Perpetual or Eternal Diet of Regensburg (Immerwährender Reichstag) was a permanent Imperial Diet (Reichstag) of the Holy Roman Empire from 1663 to 1806 seated in Regensburg in present-day Germany (

6 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Identified as Cornelis Norbertus Gijsbrechts since Gammelbo 1955, p. 139.

7 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Illustrated here are two paintings from the same year, which fit the description.

8 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Johann Cunibert of Wenzelsberg (1614-1683) had several functions at the court of Ferdinand III and Leopold I in Vienna and was an art collector.

9 [Van Leeuwen 2018]

10 [Gerson 1942/1983] De Monconys 1665-1666, p. 374-376; Hoogewerff 1933, p. 250-260; Frimmel 1907, p. 23; Frimmel 1919, p. 153.

11 [Gerson 1942/1983] Hermannstadt [now Sibiu], Galerie Brukenthal, cat. 1901, nos. 304/305 (of 16[6]8).

12 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Herman Verelst was in Ljubljana in 1678 with his wife and son (Lubej 1997). His daughter Maria was born in Vienna in 1680, but the family fled to London (where Herman’s brother Simon lived) when Vienna was sieged by the Turks in 1683 ( Veth 1898, p. 108-109). No portraits he painted in Vienna are known, but Justus van Nypoort made two prints after Verelst: a portrait of Archduke Joseph and one of L.F. count Montecuccoli (Lubej 1997). Furthermore, there is a print after a portrait of Ludwig Wilhelm I, Markgrave of Baden-Baden that Verelst allegedly took to England and had engraved there in 1691 by Robert White (Wurzbach 1906-1910, vol. 2, p. 766; print in the British Museum, no image online). According to Van Gool, Mattheus Terwesten was only briefly in Vienna in 1697, where he met Anthon Schoonjans. After he had a good look around he travelled on to Berlin (Van Gool 1750-1751, vol. 1, p. 309-329).

13 [Gerson 1942/1983] Frimmel 1899-1901, vol.1, p. 561-564. [Van Leeuwen 2018] Indeed Jacob Toorenvliet was quite productive in Vienna: Karau 2002 lists 63 dated paintings between 1674 and 1679 that probably were painted there (nos. A 39-102); 9 of them in RKDimages. The partly legible date on the painting in Vienna traditionally was read as 1687, but should be read 1677.

14 [Gerson 1942/1983] Hajdecki 1905-1907, vol. 23 (1905), p. 16; Frimmel 1911, ill. [Van Leeuwen 2018] The subject (Rest of Diana) was identified by Paul van Kooij (RKD) as Cimon and Iphigenia.

15 [Gerson 1942/1983] According to Houbraken 1719-1721, vol. 3, p. 301, she supplied the empress alone for 4,000 Gulden. [Van Leeuwen 2018] ‘For the Spouse of the Emperor Leopold she made a sublime work, consisting of Flowers, Arms, Eagles, Crowns, decorated in foliage, of woven silk in a rustic manner [in manier als campanen], for which more than four thousand guilders were given. […] The likeness of the mentioned Emperor[,] cut out by her scissors [,] was sent to his Majesty and still hangs in Vienna in his Art Cabinet […]’ (Horn 2000, vol. 2, p. 604).

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