Dutch 17th century old master portrait presumed to be depicting Captain Pieter Pauw
Pieter Pauw was born in 1611 into a prominent Amsterdam family of patricians. Son of Adriaen Pauw, he was baptized in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam and later went to study in Leiden, where he registered at university in 1625. He appears to have been a capable and well-respected man, for he became captain of a regiment in the service of the State and later a knight of the order of St. Michel on March 5th 1635, according to the author of the book "Het geslacht Pauw" he was also a nobleman to the king of France. His short but successful life ended on 12 October 1637 and he was buried in Heemstede.
Our portrait is a remarkable painting, not only is it a very fine memento of a prominent figure who lived and experienced the glory of the dutch golden age first-hand, but it is also very skilfully painted. With his glimmering eyes and soft smile, one wonders about the many fascinating stories that he might have to tell us. It might have been posthumously painted. Another portrait of presumed of Pieter Pauw is known, it was painted by Jan Van Teylingen and is in the collection of the town hall of Hoorn in the Netherlands.
Intriguingly, there exists a very similar portrait of his brother, Michiel Pauw Lord of Bennenbrock. This portrait is signed Pieter Nason and dated 164(7 ?). It is now part of the collection of the Ringling museum of art and it is registered with the RKD as a portrait by Nason under the reference number 130459. Both portraits appear to be connected, not only do they depict two brothers but they also share many technical similarities (in the handling of the paint, composition, colouring, ...). Both are individual portraits, showing a different city in the background and having slight variations in the postures and costumes of the sitters. There is also a beautiful pentimenti visible to the right of the collar and to the right arm, indicating that the painter slightly changed the composition whilst working on it. On the back of the panel there are several old inscriptions amongst which the number 34, possibly an old inventory number. On the back there also seem to be old inscriptions of the dimensions of the panel in inches, perhaps this might be an indication that the painting was once in a collection in the United Kingdom or the United States (as is the portrait of Michiel).
The panel measures 70 by 57 cms and with the frame ca. 90 by 77 cms.
Private collection Spain
Literature: "Het geslacht Pauw", H. J. Koenen, P.