Information from the museum, 16 August 2011
Prince Maurits, Hugo de Groot, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Pieter Cornelisz Hooft, Jacob Cats and Constatijn Huygens. As no other did the portrait painter from Delft Michiel Jansz van Mierevelt (1566-1641) paint the portraits of well-known 17th-century Dutchmen, giving them the face with which we associate them to this day. At the start of the Golden Age, van Mierevelt is the most successful portrait painter of the Northern Netherlands. Moreover, as one of few artists in the 17th century, he succeeds in gaining a fortune by his paintings. His portraits a very popular and are copied dozens of times—in several sizes—and sold in his ‘winckel’ (workshop). Yet somehow this fascinating painter has slipped into oblivion. That is, until now…
The exhibition displays over 70 paintings, both from inside and outside the Netherlands, by Van Mierevelt’s studio. For the first time since the 17th century this many of Van Mierevelt’s paintings have been brought together. Van Mierevelt was known for painting his customers very true to nature. The sober quality of his paintings is exceptional. In addition to the convincing realism of the portraits by the ‘forgotten’ Delft Master, this exhibition will grant an insight into studio practices of an active 17th-century portrait painter.
Visit Michiel van Mierevelt’s studio and meet his famous customers. Go on a discovery tour and meet the artist who immortalized the Great Men of the Golden Age. Why was Van Mierevelt so popular in his own time? How did he realise the enormous production in his studio? Who bought his paintings and how much did they pay for them? Through the unique line of research in this exhibition and the free exhibition guide More Van Mierevelt, you will learn to recognize the hand of the master as you go along.
The Prinsenhof Museum has 38 works – in own possession- attributed to Van Mierevelt or his studio. The exhibition is the result of a 3-year research project co financed by the Mondriaan Foundation. Please see www.vanmierevelt.nl for further information. With the exhibition a catalogue by the same name will appear by Wbooks Publishing House. The catalogue is written by Rudi Ekkart PhD (RKD managing director), Johanneke Verhave MA (art historian and conservator) and Anita Jansen MA (curator of Old Master paintings.
During the exhibition one the few remaining group portraits by the Van Mierevelt Studio will be restored in the exhibition hall. See for yourself the use of state-of-the-art restoration techniques and discover which techniques Van Mierevelt used in the creation of his paintings. Join in one of the workshops and make your own portrait in Van Mierevelt’s style. For schools we offer special museum classes and groups can visit the exhibition accompanied by an expert guide. Please see www.prinsenhof-delft.nl for all available activities.
This exhibition has been made possible with the support of Rabobank Zuid-Holland Midden, Fonds 1818, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, SNS Reaalfonds, Stichting De Gijselaar-Hintzenfonds, Stichting Hulp Delftse Jongeren and VSBFonds.