The collection of the Meininger Museen can be traced back to duke Anton-Ulrich of Saxony-Meiningen. As the youngest son of the duke of Saxony-Meiningen, Anton did not live up to the expectations of a modest, celibate life. Instead, the highly educated man secretly married a chambermaid of castle Meiningen and went on to live with her in Amsterdam for a few years. Anton hired Jan Maurits Quinkhard as his agent and painter. Due to the conflicts with his family, Anton-Ulrich barely lived in Meinigen but used his frequent stays in Vienna and Frankfurt to start a diverse art collection. The duke, who also ruled at the end of his life, suffered from a lack of funds throughout his life. Therefore, parts of his collection were sold after his death in 1763. These sales continued until into the twentieth century, leaving a small – but precious – holding artworks by Quinkhard, Ferdinand Bol, Abraham Breughel, Jacob de Backer, Pieter Nason, Jan Frans van Bloemen and Hieronymus Janssens in the museum.
Andrea Jacob, Curator (July 2020)