Musée No:318.022Regular price £25.00
Artist: Jan Lievens
Date: c. 1628
Jan Lievens (1607 –1674) was a Dutch Golden Age painter who was associated with his close contemporary Rembrandt, in the early parts of their careers. They were both born in Leiden, trained with Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, and shared a studio for about five years until 1631. They both produced portraits and history paintings, but unlike Rembrandt Lievens' career took him away from Amsterdam to London, Antwerp, The Hague and Berlin. He began his career as an independent artist, at about the age of 12 and became a celebrity because of his talent at such a young age. Around 1620, this attracted the attention of the Prince of Orange who bought a life-size painting of a young man reading by the light of a turf-fire. He gave the painting in turn to the English Ambassador, who presented it to James I. This was the reason why in 1631, when Lievens was 24, he was invited to the British court. During his time in England became influenced by the works of Anthony van Dyck. When he returned from England via Calais, he settled in Antwerp, where he met and married Suzanna Colyn de Nole. In this period, he won many commissions from royalty, mayors, and city halls.
The rather wistful looking sitter is in fact Sir Constantijn Huygens, Lord of Zuilichem, (1596-1687). He was a Dutch Golden Age poet and composer and secretary to two Princes of Orange: Frederick Henry and William II. He was the father of the scientist Christiaan Huygens. He also worked for (or had dealings with) James I of England, who knighted him, and Prince Charles. Whilst he was in England he was robbed of his papers and £200 in gold from his coach (a phenomenal amount of money) as he set out to Newmarket. In 1632, Louis XIII of France appointed him as Knight of the Order of Saint-Michel.