Portrait of Nicolaes van der Meer
Painter: Frans Hals (Antwerpen c. 1582/83 – Haarlem 1666) – 1631
Official title: Portrait of Nicolaes Woutersz van der Meer
Original: Oil on panel, 100.5 x 128c5 cm, wxh
Additional Information – Wedding pendants
The paintings Frans Hals made of Nicolaes van der Meer and Cornelia Vooght belong together. They are wedding pendants of this prominent Haarlem couple, who married in 1598. Van der Meer (c. 1574-1637) was a brewer at the Leeuw brewery, an alderman, more than once mayor and officer of the St. George’s Militia. In his position of captain, he was also portrayed by Frans Hals on the militia piece Feast of the St. George’s Militia from 1616. Hals emphasized Nicholas’ relaxed but self-assured pose by positioning him standing behind the chair, his hand resting relaxed on the back.
That the two portraits belong together can be seen from the wall in the background, which seems to continue from one painting to the other.
Traditionally, the portrait of the man hangs on the left and that of the woman on the right. Hals painted many of these kinds of pendants (portraits of men and women) during his career.
You can find the portrait of Cornelia here
However, something strange is going on with these two portraits. X-rays have shown that the faces of Nicolaes and Cornelia were painted over other portraits. Why that happened is not known. Perhaps the patrons were not (or no longer) satisfied with their portrait, or perhaps Nicolaes and Cornelia had a pendant that was already in the family altered with their own faces. (Marriage portraits, after all, remained in a family for a long time).
The coats of arms on both paintings were also added later – probably in the nineteenth century. The dye that appears in the family coats of arms – Prussian blue – only came into general use after 1720. Moreover, the coat of arms does not yet appear on a drawing Johan van der Sprang made of Cornelia’s portrait in 1762.
When you are in Haarlem, you can also admire these paintings at ML Restaurant right in the historic city centre!
A collaboration with the Frans Hals Museum Haarlem®
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