Last month, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge acquired two portraits of young boys by Adriaen van Ostade (1610-85).
The two paintings, together with a coastal view by Francesco Guardi (1712-93), have been received from the estate of George Pinto under the Acceptance in Lieu scheme, which allows for the ownership of works of art to be transferred to the nation in lieu of inheritance tax. Educated at Cambridge, George Pinto (1929-2018) was a merchant banker, as well as a passionate and distinguished art collector he was a long-time supporter of The Fitzwilliam Museum, patron of the National Gallery and trustee of the Wallace Collection.
Adriaen van Ostade was one of the most prolific seventeenth-century Dutch painters of peasant scenes, taverns and village fairs. He also painted a number of portraits, including these two unidentified boys which were produced in the 1660s, when Ostade had adopted a fine painting technique as practiced by the Leiden school of fijnschilders. The Fitzwilliam already has two paintings and four drawings by Ostade, as well as a significant collection of over eighty prints, all of which depict his more typical subject matter of jovial peasants. These two portraits, of a kind rarely seen in public collections, will now better represent Ostade’s oeuvre within Cambridge and the UK.
The paintings are on display in Gallery 15 (the Dutch gallery).