Bartholomeus van der Helst (1613-1670) attributed. Portrait of a young man dated 1651. Portrait of the painter Paulus Potter?
Re-canvas of 80 cm by 67 cm.
Frame measuring 92 cm by 78 cm.
This superb portrait attributed to Bartholomeus van der Helst can be compared to other portraits made by the artist, notably that of the painter Paulus Potter, a few years later, in 1654. In addition to the stylistic aspects, the physical resemblance between the two young men is such that we can possibly think that it is the same person three years apart.
Bartholomeus van der Helst (1613-1670)
Bartholomeus van der Helst (Haarlem 1613 – buried December 16, 1670) was a Dutch painter who lived in Amsterdam from 1627.
Considered one of the leading portraitists of the Dutch Golden Age, his elegant portraits earned him the patronage of Amsterdam's elite as well as the stadtholder's circle. Besides portraits, van der Helst painted some genre paintings as well as biblical scenes and mythological subjects.
He was the fashionable portraitist of the rich bourgeoisie of Amsterdam, and this craze for his painting lasted throughout the 18th century. The numerous paintings known to him, very often signed and/or dated, range between 1634 and 1669. Until around 1648, his portraits, through their realism, their elegant sobriety (neutral backgrounds, chromatism limited to black, gray and the white of linen and lace), claim to be those of Elias with whom Van der Helst was certainly trained after his arrival in Amsterdam.
Contrary to what is sometimes claimed, he was not a student of Frans Hals, whose touch he does not quite have as free, nor the same sense of chiaroscuro, the tight execution on the contrary, and the graphic effect refer well to Nicholaes Pickenoy Elias (this is all the more obvious when we look at the face of a portrait dated 1629 of Elias, Christie's New York, October 14 2021, lot 116, portrait of a gentleman)
If Hals exerted, indirectly, a certain influence on him as on all the Dutch portrait painters of the thirties, this action is combined with that, undeniable, of Rembrandt (himself installed in Amsterdam since 1631 and whose portraits immediately attracted a large clientele); certain effigies from the beginning of Van der Helst's career use mannerist formulas (the oval format, for example) that we find in Hals and Rembrandt.