National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through The Art Foundation of Victoria in memory of their parents Eric and Marian Morgan by Lynton and Nigel Morgan, Founder Benefactors, 1987
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
In the 1630s, Thomas de Keyser was the most fashionable portrait painter in Amsterdam, and his work was popular with the middle and upper classes of that city. As one of the leading exponents of portraiture at this time, de Keyser had a strong influence on other artists, including the young Rembrandt, who moved to Amsterdam in 1631. De Keyser’s paintings are characterised by a highly detailed style and by realistically painted figures posed in a rather formal manner.
Frederick van Velthuysen was the son of the burgomaster of Utrecht, and he and his wife, Josina, would have been among the city’s elite citizens. Frederick made his fortune trading with Italy, and de Keyser has made subtle references to this through showing the couple standing on a classicised terrace and with the Italianate buildings in the background. This work is a variant of a ‘marriage portrait’ a type of painting that was very popular in Holland. Marriage portraits were often commissioned to celebrate a wedding or an anniversary and the couple were either shown together, as seen here, or in separate, pendant paintings. The man was always shown to the right of his wife, a tradition still followed in most wedding ceremonies today.
Frame: Reproduction, 2000, based on a Dutch frame from 1636
Reproduction, 2000, based on a Dutch frame from 1636
The former frame on de Keyser Frederick van Velthuysen and his wife, Josina, 1636, acquired 1987, was carved timber (oak) in the manner of French Louis XIV frames. It had been over painted with gold paint leaving no indication of the original surface. The frame appears to have been cut down from a larger format and re-assembled to fit the painting.
The proposal to re-frame the painting was made in 1998.
The profile of the frame, a reverse ogee form, serves to push the picture plane forward.
The frame was made from coachwood (pink sycamore), utilising the joinery of the time and stained to create an ebonised effect.
The painting was fitted in the frame in 2000.