Gerson Digital : Denmark

RKD STUDIES

2.9 Portraitists

The separation into history and portrait painters that we propose for the sake of clarity has its problems insofar as almost all of the mentioned history painters also rendered fine and important portraits in Denmark. Even before Pieter Isaacsz, several Netherlandish portraitists, such as Gerrit Cornelisz van Haarlem (died 1601) and Claesz Jansz [Nicolaus Johansen] of Utrecht, as well as the tapestry designer Johan van Wijck († 1611/13), resided in Copenhagen.1 The documents give us a clear picture of their activity. In addition to courtly portraits for Frederick II (died 1588) and the Queen-Regent Sophie (died 1631),2 they were charged with many subservient works, such as the painting of coats of arms and ship decorations. We also have all sorts of stiff mannerist allegories and epitaphs by them, or at least attributed to them. Gerrit Cornelisz. was a pupil of Pieter Pietersz, and pictures of the nineties (for instance in Gaunø) [1-4] still cling to the latter’s style, though they are otherwise stiffer and less accomplished than those of the Amsterdam teacher.

1
Gerrit Cornelisz
Portrait of Ditlev Holk (1556- 1633), dated 1596
unknown, oil paint ? x ? cm
upper left :
Private collection

2
Gerrit Cornelisz
Portrait of Margrete Krabbe, wife of Ditlev Holk, dated 1596
unknown, oil paint ? x ? cm
upper left :
Private collection

3
Gerrit Cornelisz
Portrait of Peder Reedtz (1531-1607), 1597
unknown, oil paint 212 x 103 cm
Private collection

4
Gerrit Cornelisz
Portrait of Karen Rostrup († 1636), wife of Peder Reedtz, dated 1597
unknown, oil paint 212 x 121 cm
Private collection

Nothing appears to have survived of Claes Jansz’s histories and applied decorations, and we have only one engraving by Johan van Wijck, a view of Copenhagen which he rendered after a painting of his [5].3Johan von Enum II was also entirely under the influence of Netherlandish mannerists. His Raising of the Brass Serpent [6] in Nyborg church in Copenhagen,4 which is an epitaph for Peder Jensøn, is nothing but an enlarged composition by Cornelisz. van Haarlem, with donor figures in un-Dutch stiffness placed before it.5

5
Jan Diricks van Campen after Johan van Wijck (-1611)
View of Copenhagen with its harbour in the foreground, 1611
paper, copper engraving 360 x 950 mm
upper center : HAFNIA METROPOLIS ET PORTVS CELEBERRIMVS DANIAE
Copenhagen, Royal Library (Copenhagen)

6
Johan von Enum (II)
Epitaph of Peder Jensøn Skriver, dated 1607
panel, oil paint ? x ? cm
center : JOHAN. A. ENVM . PJNXJT. AO. 1607
Nyborg, Vor Frue Kirke (Nyborg)

7
Anoniem Noordelijke Nederlanden (historische regio) 1605 gedateerd
Portrait of an unknown boy and his dog, 1605 (dated)
panel, oil paint 105,8 x 76,3 cm
lower right : 3 ELVS[8?] N/1605
London, art dealer Rafael Valls Limited

We will pass by other more or less Dutch-looking portraits by a Van Zelven6 [7] and an Anthonius Clement [8], as well as by the Stettin artist Daniel Block (1580-1660) (whose father had come from Utrecht), who painted the then so beloved family trees for Mecklenburg dukes and Christian IV.7

It is of greater importance that Jacques de Gheyn twice drew a portrait of the famous Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) after a picture by Tobias Gemperle, who repeatedly painted the scholar [9-11].8

9
Jacques de Gheyn (II) after Tobias Gemperle
Portrait of Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) with a hat, 1595/1596
paper, pen in brown ink, perforated 122 x 91 mm
in verso : Thicho Brhag
Copenhagen, SMK - The Royal Collection of Graphic Art, inv./cat.nr. KKSgb5254

8
Anthonius Clement
Family tree of Queen Sophie of Mecklenburg (1557-1631), 1622-1627
panel 346 x 969 cm
Nykøbing Sj, Nykøbing Kirke

10
Jacques de Gheyn (II) after Tobias Gemperle
Portrait of Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) with a hat, c. 1595
paper, copper engraving 187 x 135 mm
lower center : Effigies Tychonis Brahe Ottonidis Dani / Dñi de Knvdstrvp et arcis Vranienbvrg in / insvla hellispontie danici Hvenna fvndatoris / Instrvmentorvmq astronomicorvm in eadem / Dispositarm inventoris et strvctoris / ætatis svæ anno 40. anno dñi. 1586. compl.
Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet, inv./cat.nr. RP-P-1909-2761

11
Jacques de Gheyn (II) possibly after Tobias Gemperle
Portrait of Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), c. 1595
paper, engraving 190 x 130 mm
lower center : Effigies Tychonis Brahe Ottonidis Dani / Dñi de Knvdstrvp et arcis Vranienbvrg in / insvla hellispontie danici Hvenna fvndatoris / Instrvmentorvmq astronomicorvm in eadem / Dispositarm inventoris et strvctoris / ætatis svæ anno 40. anno dñi. 1586. compl.
Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet, inv./cat.nr. RP-P-OB-9945

With De Gheyn we arrive at the miniature painters, and in this connection we must mention Jacob van Doort (†1629), to whom we owe many portraits of members of the Danish royal house [12-15]. He was born in Hamburg, and we have seen that he worked for the Holstein court, but his family probably came from the Netherlands.9 Even his life-size portraits [16-18] do not shed the careful, almost fearful manner that we know from his miniatures. He is never truly free from the ‘embroidered’ style that is so characteristic for the Elizabethan miniature.10

12
Jacob van Doort
Portrait of King Christian IV of Denmark (1577-1648), dated 1611
vellum, gouache (material/technique) 4,5 x 3,3 cm
left center : A° 1611
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. 3.84

13
Jacob van Doort
Portrait of Queen Anna Catharina of Denmark (1575-1612), dated 1612
vellum, gouache (material/technique) 6 x 4,5 cm
upper right : 1612.
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. 3.85

14
Jacob van Doort
Portrait of King Christian IV of Denmark (1577-1648), dated 1623
vellum, gouache (material/technique) 117 x 98 mm
upper right : 1623.
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. 1.127

15
Jacob van Doort
Portrait of Kirsten Munk (1598-1630), wife of King Christian IV of Denmark, dated 1623
vellum, gouache (material/technique) 117 x 97 mm
left center : 1623 IVD
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. 1.128

16
Jacob van Doort
Portrait of King Christian IV of Denmark (1577-1648), dated 1611 (?)
canvas, oil paint 240 x 144 cm
: 1611
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. 3.172

17
Jacob van Doort
Portrait of Kirsten Munk (1598-1630), wife of King Christian IV of Denmark, dated 1623
canvas, oil paint 120,5 x 94,2 cm
upper left : IVDoort fet. / 1623
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. A 7299 / 1456

18
attributed to Jacob van Doort
Portrait of Prince Ulrik of Denmark (1611-1633), c. 1616
canvas, oil paint 110,5 x 82,5 cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle

It is again Pieter Isaacsz who introduced Dutch portrait painting to Denmark in a worthy way. He repeatedly rendered the king in full-length, large, proud and free, though also a little heavy and solid. One can still discern the artist’s origins in the Ketel tradition, but one also sees how he progressed in the direction of a more natural and realistic conception of portraiture. One of his most successful creations is a Portrait of Christian IV in Frederiksborg [19], which exists in several versions, and a ten-year-later Portrait of Palle Rosenkrantz and His Wife of about 1622 (same location) [20-21].11 Sundry nobles [22] as well as Prince Christian, the King’s short-lived son [23], had themselves portrayed by the Dutchman.12 One can best compare his position as court painter with that of Daniel Mytens’ in England, with Isaacsz having the good fortune not to encounter rivals. Beyond that, Isaacsz is old-fashioned compared to Mytens, if only because he belongs to an earlier generation.

19
Pieter Isaacsz
Portrait of King Christian IV of Denmark (1577-1648), c. 1615
panel, oil paint 130 x 108 cm
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. A 1893

20
Anoniem 1622 gedateerd
Portrait of Palle Rosenkrantz of Krenkerup (1587-1642), dated 1622
unknown, oil paint 122 x 91 cm
upper right : NATVS·AO· / 1·5·8 7· / PICTVS ·A0 · / 1·6·2 2 ·
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. A 5657

21
Anoniem 1623 gedateerd
Portrait of Elisabeth Rosensparre (1592-1627), dated 1623
unknown, oil paint 122 x 91 cm
Hillerød (Frederiksborg), Frederiksborg Slot, inv./cat.nr. A 5658

22
Pieter Isaacsz
Portrait of Henrick Holck of Steensgaard
canvas, oil paint 101 x 76 cm
upper right :
Private collection

23
Pieter Isaacsz
Portrait of Prince Christian of Denmark (1603-1647), dated 1618
canvas, oil paint 119 x 80 cm
upper right : Von G[ottes] G[nade] Christian der V / Prinz zu Dennemarcken König Christian 4 / Erster Sohn Seines Alters im 16 / Jahr Ao 1618
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. A 4082

Isaacsz must have run a small shop with assistants and students. In any case, one often sees pictures in his style which did not originate with him. They include portraits of the sons of Christian IV, born in 1609 and 1611 (no. 551 and 553),13 in Frederiksborg [24-25], which I believe are wrongly given to Jacob van Doort and Remmert Pietersz, being much too good for them. Remmert Pietersz (c.1575-1649), a Netherlander, happens to be a weak artist of the Isaacsz school, who often settled for copying old models. A double portrait of the King with his spouse Anna Catharina hangs in Rosenborg Castle [26]. It is probably assumed with good reason that the pictures were originally separate and that Pietersz added the portrait of the queen to that of King Christian IV, which is by a better hand (though it remains undecided whether this half of the pair is an original by Isaacsz or a workshop copy). A great variety of pictures are attributed to Pietersz. Three portraits of the Skeel family, which are signed, belong to his best work [27-29].14

26
Pieter Isaacsz and possibly Remmert Pietersz
Portrait of King Christian IV of Denemark (1577-1648) and his wife Queen Anne Cathrine of Brandenburg (1575-1612), c. 1614
canvas, oil paint 249,5 x 322 cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. inv. nr. 3.172

25
studio of Pieter Isaacsz
Portrait of Prins Frederick III of Denmark (1609-1670), son of King Christian IV of Denmark, as a child, dated 1618
canvas, oil paint 104 x 83 cm
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. A 9242

24
studio of Pieter Isaacsz
Portrait of Duke Ulrik, bishop of Schwerin (1611-1633) , son of King Christian IV of Denmark, as a child, 1618
canvas, oil paint 104 x 84 cm
center right :
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. A 4080

28
attributed to Johan Thim
Portrait of Otto Skeel til Katholm, dated 1637
unknown, oil paint 98 x 77,5 cm
upper right : Aetatis suae 32 / Anno 1637
Private collection

27
Johan Thim
Portrait of Christen Skeel Albertsen(1603-1659), c. 1645
canvas, oil paint 104 x 80 cm
upper left : [...]sten Skeel Albretsen / [...]is Rüges Raad.
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. A 2597

30
Pieter Isaacsz
Portrait of Prince Christian (1603-1647), son of King Christian IV of Denmark, c. 1620
canvas, oil paint 225 x 143 cm
Fredensborg, Fredensborg Slot

29
Remmert Pietersz
Portrait of Albret Skeel (1572-1639), dated 1621
unknown, oil paint ? x ? cm
upper right : Etat. 49 . Anno .1621
Private collection

We further know that Frantz Klein was paid for portraits of Christian IV and his eldest son. Beckett believes he can identify such a work in a portrait of Christian IV that now hangs in Frederiksborg Castle [30]. If this supposition is correct, one can say that Klein was still another artist who slavishly adopted the portrait type of Isaacsz.15

We do not know of any work by Abraham de Kyster [31], who had already been appointed ‘Contrafejer’ [painter or portraitist] of Christian IV in 1605.16 The attributions of pictures to Carel Swerius (c. 1600-in or after 1653) of The Hague also lack a firm foundation.17 There is some evidence that Karel van Mander II, the tapestry weaver, and his brother-in-law Engel Rooswijk probably also painted portraits on occasion. A handsome Portrait of Laurids Ulfeldt of 1638 in Frederiksborg (no. 684) [32] is supposed to have carried Rooswijk’s signature at one time.18

It is possible that David Bailly (1584-1657) passed through Copenhagen in 1627, as we have a child portrait of Duke Ulrik of that year [33] and a portrait of Christian IV of about the same time [34].19 Bailly later frequently portrayed Danish nobles staying in Leiden. A portrait of 1641 of one Rosenkrantz (new acquisition, Frederiksborg) [35] belongs to the best small pictures in Denmark.20

31
Abraham de Keyster
Portrait of King Christian IV of Denmark (1577-1648), c. 1604?
unknown, oil paint ? x ? cm
Oslo, Akershus Slott

33
David Bailly
Portrait of Duke Ulrik, bishop of Schwerin (1611-1633), son of King Christian IV of Denmark, dated 1627
panel, oil paint 15 x 11 cm
center right : D. Baillÿ feit / Ao. 1627
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. A 4704

32
Engel Rooswijk
Portrait of Corfitz Ulfeldt (1606-1664), husband of Leonora Christina, daughter of King Christian IV and Kirsten Munk, dated 1638
canvas, oil paint 193 x 104 cm
: 1638 aetatis 33
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. A 833

34
David Bailly
Portrait of King Christian IV of Denmark (1577-1648), c. 1627
panel, oil paint 14 x 10,5 cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle

35
David Bailly
Portrait of Christian Rosenkrantz (1614-1648), dated 1641
panel, oil paint 50 x 38 cm
upper right : D. Baillÿ fecit Ao. 1641
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./cat.nr. A 5656


Notes

1 [Gerson 1942/1983] Beckett 1937, pp. 7ff; Schmidt 1917.

2 [Van Leeuwen 2015] Queen Sophia was not queen-regent for the little Christian IV; she was excluded from the regency (communication Steffen Heiberg, February 2015).

3 [Van Leeuwen 2015] Van Wijk’s painting burned with the Council Hall during the Fire of Copenhagen in 1728 (communication Steffen Heiberg, February 2015].

4 [Van Leeeuwen 2014] The epitaph is located in the Vor Frue Kirke in Nyborg, which is located about 120 km from Copenhagen. Gerson knew an illustration in Beckett 1937.

5 [Van Leeuwen 2015] Johannsen 1984 and Thøfner 2011 also concern Goltzius borrowings.

6 [Van Leeuwen 2015] The name ‘Van Zelven’ derives from an incorrectly read indication of age (?) on an anoymous portrait of a boy of 1605 which was shown at an exhibition in London as ‘Danish school’ (London 1913-1914, no. 60).

7 [Van Leeuwen 2015] Daniel Block did not paint a family tree for Christian IV but for the duke of Mecklenburg. He was court painter at the Mecklenburg court and travelled to Denmark in this capacity using a passport issued by Prince Christian. He travelled from Nykøbing to Copenhagen and Malmö, and back (Weilbach 1994-2000; Eller 1971, p. 161). While in Denmark he painted portraits of Prince Christian and possibly also of Christian’s spouse (Eller 1971, p. 417).

8 [Gerson 1942/1983] Van Regteren Altena 1936, p. 8. [Van Leeuwen 2015] As far as is known, only one of the two preparatory drawings for De Gheyn’s prints has survived (Van Regteren Altena 1983, vol. 2, p. 102, no. 653). The German artist Tobias Gemperle (c. 1551-1578) came to Denmark through the intercession of the astronomer Tycho Brahe, whom he had probably met in Augsburg in 1575. A portrait of Brahe by Gemperle was lost to the 1859 fire in Frederiksborg. However, the subject is still known from copies of the 19th century (RKDimages 243782 and 254424).

9 [Van Leeuwen 2015] Steffen Heiberg also classes Van Doort with the Dutch artists (Heiberg 1983, pp. 12-13).

10 [Gerson 1942/1983] That is why Jacob van Doort’s attribution for the portraits of the children of Christian IV in Frederiksborg (nos. 551 and 553) also seems erroneous to me [RKDimages 243731 and 243733, see below].

11 [Van Leeuwen 2015] According to Eric Domela Nieuwenhuis this painting is not by Pieter Isaacsz (Domela Nieuwenhuis 2007, p. 129, note 32).

12 [Van Leeuwen 2015] For the portraits of Prince Christian, see Heiberg 2002.

13 [Van Leeuwen 2015] Hillerød 1936, nos. 551 and 553 (inv.nos. A 4083 and A 4080).

14 [Gerson 1082/1983] Andrup 1917; Beckett 1935. [Van Leeuwen 2015] Meanwhile Eller has attributed a few portraits to Johan Thim (Eller 1971, pp. 434-439).

15 [Gerson 1942/1983] Beckett 1938, p. 58 [and mirror-image illustration].[Van Leeuwen 2015] The portrait has since been given to Pieter Isaacsz (Heiberg 2002, p. 40, no. 98).

16 [Van Leeuwen 2015] A portrait in the Akershus Castle in Oslo features ‘A.D. Kyster’ on the name plate (photographed there in May 2014). The work is not signed. The name is probably based on tradition.

17 [Gerson 1942/1983] Andrup 1917. [Van Leeuwen 2015] Gerson intended RKDimages 244380 and 244381 (Pieter Isaacsz), which Andrup wrongly attributed to Swerius. Andrup cited an archival piece from the Steward’s accounts for 1619-20, fol. 150b (in the National Archives/Rigsarkiv in Copenhagen) which says: ‘Extended on 25 May [1619] to Carolus Suerus the Mute, painter from The Hague in Holland ...? rijksdaalder for – 5 portraits, namely those of the young gentleman and prints just like the portraits of the brothers of his Royal Highness, as well as that of the high born first Count Palatinate and Elector on the Rhine and the portrait of his Royal Highness’ beloved spouse, which he made for His Royal Majesty according to the here present documents of proof which have been signed by His Majesty.’ (Op 25 mei [1619] verstrekt aan Carolus Suerus de Stomme, schilder uit 's-Gravenhage in Holland …? rijksdaalder voor - 5 portretten, namelijk die van de jonge heer en prins als ook de portretten van de broers van zijne Koninklijke Hoogheid, evenals die van de hooggeboren eerste Paltsgraaf en Keurvorst aan de Rijn en het portret van zijne Genadige Hoogheid's zeer geliefde gemalin, die hij voor Zijne Koninklijke Majesteit heeft gemaakt volgens de hier aanwezige bewijsstukken die door Zijne Majesteit zelf zijn ondertekend.)

18 [Van Leeuwen 2015] Gerson obviously consulted the Frederiksborg catalogue of 1831, revised by N.L. Høyen, who mentioned that the work was signed ‘Roswijck fecit’, ‘1638’ and ‘Aetatis 33’ (Bang 1996, vol. 2, no. 19). The sitter was identified as Laurids Ulfeldt until Eller argued that his brother Corfitz must have been intended (Eller 1971, pp. 128-131)

19 [Gerson 1942/1983] Copenhagen 1891 , no. 3; Frederiksborg no. 553A [A 4704] ; Rosenborg no. 99. [Van Leeuwen 2015] According to Stefen Heiberg the portrait probably does not represent Duke Ulrik, whose portraits are quite different (communication Steffen Heiberg, February 2015).

20 [Van Leeuwen 2015] A portrait print is visible on the wall behind Christian Rosenkrantz. It is presumably a self-portrait by David Bailly (Craft-Giepmans/De Vries 2012, p. 114, ill.)

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