Portrait of a Woman

Portrait of a Woman

1646

Govaert Flinck

(Dutch, 1615-1660)

Oil on wood

Framed: 101 x 90 x 5.5 cm (39 3/4 x 35 7/16 x 2 3/16 in.); Unframed: 71.5 x 59.5 cm (28 1/8 x 23 7/16 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Noah L. Butkin 1977.117

Description

Because of an inscription on the back, this painting was long considered a portrait of Anna Maria van Schurman, a prominent Dutch scholar and artist. These words, however, were added much later and incorrectly state that Anna Maria was 42 years old, when in reality she would have been 39. Furthermore, Flinck's likeness does not resemble other known portraits of this famous woman. Although her identity remains unknown, his sitter has an austere dignity and emotional complexity that captures her individuality through the careful description of her expression and dress. Due to this naturalism and elegant formality, Flinck achieved wealth and a high social standing throughout the 1640s as one of Amsterdam's most popular portraitists, rivaling his former master, Rembrandt. Joachim Sandrart, a contemporary German painter, once commented that compared to Rembrandt's portraits, Flinck's "were more felicitous in the exactness and in the pleasing quality of the portrayal."

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