Adriaen van Cronenburg (active 1547-90)
Rienk van Cammingha (d. 1598). Dated 1552. Panel, 91 × 78 cm.
Leeuwarden, Fries Museum, inv. nr. 1887. On loan since 1881 from the van Cammingha family, who presented it to the museum in 1977.
Van Cronenburg, a native of West Friesland, across the Zuider Zee, was one of earliest artists to work in Friesland. His identity was established by the former director of the Fries Museum, A. Wassenbergh, on the basis of his signature, A.a.a.a. van Cronenburg. For many years, the illogical signature was 'corrected' to 'Anna van Cronenburg,' but Wassenbergh showed that the four a's were a rebusfor Adriaen. In Dutch A.a.a.a., read as 'A, three a's,' is pronounced 'A, drie a'en,' or Adriaen. The painter's cousin Jacob van Cronenburg had moved to Friesland before him, as a physician, and had married into not one but two families of local aristocrats, in two marriages. It was probably thanks to his connections that Adriaen was appointed secretary of Tietjerksteradeel in 1567. In 1580 he was forced toleave the province on account of his refusal to give up Catholicism and abjure Philip II. By 1584 he had returned.
The castle in the background is Camminghaburg, the family seat of the sitter, which was demolished in 1811.