Gerson Digital : Denmark


2.8 Christian IV’s Acquisition of Pictures

This summary has not exhausted the host of Dutch painters who worked for Christian IV, because shipments of pictures from the Dutch Republic did not cease after the death of Pieter Isaacsz. We read, for instance, that Dunkirk pirates captured Engel Rooswijk [1] while he was on a shopping trip to the Dutch Republic.1 Christian IV went to some trouble to have him released, especially because the artist carried with him an impressive amount in royal funds that he was intended to use for the purchase of art works in Amsterdam.2

Cornelis de Bie already tells us that Adriaen van de Venne is to have painted an allegory on Christian IV as founder of Peace. The picture has come down to us and is today in Rosenborg Castle [2]. In it Sophie Amalie von Schleswig Holstein [read: Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg] makes her appearance as ‘Saint Cecilia’ [3] .3 As the picture is dated 1643, it cannot celebrate the Peace of Westphalia, as has often been assumed.4

One Jacob Oelevelt (Magnus) of Copenhagen, who was apprenticed to Jacob Vosmaer in Delft, belongs to the as yet to be identified artists of this time. In 1636 Oelevelt still owed his teacher money for instruction and paintings purchased. The delinquent debtor had been threatened with legal action back in 1624, but to all appearances it had met with no success.5

Engel Rooswijk
Portrait of a man, possibly self-portrait wearing a turban
panel, oil paint 52 x 44,9 cm
upper right : Engel Rooswyk
Sotheby's (Amsterdam) 2007-05-08, nr. 69

Adriaen van de Venne
King Christian IV as mediator in the Thirty Years' War, c. 1643
panel, oil paint 120 x 165 cm
: Adrian v. Venne
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle, inv./ 7.12

Adriaen van de Venne
St. Cecilia playing organ, dated 1645
panel, oil paint 64 x 53 cm
below, right of the middle : AP:v: venne 1645
Private collection


1 [Van Leeuwen 2015] Gerson writes ‘Rooswinkel’ instead of ‘Rooswijk’, no doubt a typographic error after his text about Morten van Steenwin(c)kel. According to tradition, Gerson’s wife typed out the text of the book at breakneck speed.

2 [Gerson 1942/1983] Andrup 1939, pp. 112-113.

3 [Van Leeuwen 2015] A few matters are mixed up in this sentence. There is a second painting by Van de Venne in Denmark (private collection) which depicts Saint Cecilia. The young woman diagonally behind Christian IV in the painting at Rosenborg is Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1628-1685), who had married Prince Frederick on 1 October 1643.

4 [Gerson 1942/1983] Bergman 1935  [not 1934], p. 23. [Van Leeuwen 2015] The painting is not dated but must be from c. 1643. It was executed to celebrate that the European powers recognized Christian IV as peace mediator at the peace conference in Münster 1643. For the historical context, see Heiberg et al. 1988, no. 199.

5 [Gerson 1942/1983] Bredius 1915-1921, vol. 5, p. 1436; vol. 7, p. 270. Could he be the same as one Ebbe Ulfeldt, who appears in Danish documents?

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