François Clouet (c.1515 – 1572), Henri 1er, Duc de Montmorency, Seigneur de Damville (1534 – 1614), Marshal of France, Constable of France, and Governor of Languedoc (1563 – 1614). Painted circa 1567. Oil on oak panel (With an old hand-written label attached to the reverse of the panel: ‘Deux gravures identiques du Duc Henri Ier de Montmorency dit Damville se trouvent à la Galerie des Estampes de la Bibliothèque Nationale (livre des Montmorency). Il est représenté dans un portique, une épée au côté et un bâton de commandement à la main. Bien que les gravures le représentent à un âge plus avancé (le portrait ci-contre ayant dû être fait vers la 23ème année) la ressemblance est frappante. Même visage, même nez, mêmes moustaches et surtout même strabisme qui a valu au Duc le surnom de « loucheur ». Ce tableau, bien que ne figurant pas sur le Catalogue de l’Exposition des Primitifs français (Paris, 1904) y a été exposé (à côté du portrait d’Élisabeth d’Autriche par Clouet).’, 35.7 x 25.3 cm. The Weiss Gallery © 2017 London Art Week
Provenance: Alfred Belvalette (1848 – 1927), famous Paris coachbuilder; Christie's, New York, 14 January 1993, lot 85 as circle of François Clouet; Christie's, New York, 11 January 1995, lot 239 as circle of François Clouet; Private collection, Belgium, until 2017.
Literature: L. Dimier, Le Portrait du XVIe siècle aux Primitifs français, notes et corrections au Catalogue officiel sur cette partie de l'exposition d'avril-juillet 1904, Paris, 1904, p. 32 - (« Henri de Montmorency, fils d'Anne connétable, en buste de trois quarts adroite. Prêté par M. Belvallette. L'identité de ce portrait confirmée par une réplique en petit de la collection de l'archiduc Ferdinand de Tyrol (tab. B, n° 206), avec la lettre : Dominus de Anvilla. Henri de Montmorency portait ce titre d'Anville." Dimier places this portrait among "Pièces contemporaines de François Clouet »). The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, vol. V, no. 15 (June 1904), p.327, ‘Notes from Paris. The Exhibitions' - (« In the exhibition of French primitives, the room on the second floor of the Pavilion de Marsan (sixteenth-century art) has received two interesting additions, the celebrated bust of Henri II, in the possession of the Count d'Hunolstein, and the portrait of the Constable Henri I de Montmorency, the property of M. Alfred Belvalette. The second edition of the catalogue, revised, corrected, and increased by forty pages, has just been published. The catalogue has been drawn up by MM. Henri Bouchot, Leopold Delisle, J. J. Guiffrey, P. Frantz- Marcou, Henri Martin, and Paul Vitry, and is a document of great interest and importance »). L'Arte, rivista di storia dell'arte medioevale e moderna, vol. VII, 1904, p. 238. L. Dimier, Jahbuch der kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien, vol. XXV, 1905, p. 223, sous cat. 188, ‘Die französischen Bildnisse in der Porträtsammlung des Erzherzogs Ferdinand von Tirol'. L. Dimier, Histoire de la peinture du portrait en France au XVIe siècle, Paris 1924 – 1926, vol. II, 1925, p. 347, cat. 1421, vol. III, 1926, p. 16. Other versions Studio work: Sotheby's, Colonnade, 11 May 1995, lot 78 (« portrait of a nobleman (Henri I, duc de Montmorency ?) »), oil on panel, 30.2 x 19.8 cm. (ill. 1). Later copy: Vente Morlaix, Oriot & Dupont, 4 March 2014, lot 405 (« Portrait présumé de Charles IX »), 30 x 24 cm. (ill. 2). Copies by Ferdinand de Tyrol : Vienna, KHM, inv. GG 5348 & GG 5349, oil on paper laid down on panel, 15.5 x 10.5 cm. (ill. 3). Engraved for l'Armamentarium heroicum in 1601 (ill. 4).
Exhibited: Paris, Musée du Louvre, 1904, Les Primitifs français, (ex catalogue), 2nd floor of Pavillon de Marsan.
Note: In around 1575, Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, the reigning prince of the Tyrol, began to assemble a collection of armour at his castle in Ambras, near Insbrück, which today forms the most important part of the Kaiserliches Zeughaus of Vienna. The prince addressed himself to all the great families of Europe, in order to obtain the harnesses of the most celebrated of their members, and at the same time solicited portraits of everyone from whom he was sent to arms. The Archduke also assembled a collection of engravings of each of these great captains, dressed in armour. He entrusted the work to his secretary Jakob Schrenck von Notzing and the painter Giovanni Battista Fontana. Two editions of the Armamentarium heroicum, in both Latin and German, were published in 1601 and 1602 respectively. The Archduke's fine collection of armor gave rise to a small gallery of portraits, which Ferdinand resolved to encompass all the reigning houses of Europe, with each country's ‘illustrious' captains and cardinals, favourites, writers and scholars. For speed and consistency, the prince sent his correspondents sheets of paper of equal dimensions, laid down on panel. In 1595, the portrayal of the castle of Ambras counted 954 portraits, each model carefully identified in letters of gold. Thus Ferdinand of Tyrol found himself in possession of two near-identical portraits of de Montmorency, one of the most important lineages of France: the Constable Anne and his sons, François, the elder, and Henri, lord of Damville (Figure 3). All three figured prominently in the Armamentarium heroicum, clothed in their armor which had also been generously sent to the Austrian prince and perfectly recognizable thanks to the talent of the artist Fontana (ill.4). Though the three Montmorencies had a reputation as great captains, Henri was the only one who fully deserved it, having never been taken prisoner, unlike his father and his brothers. François de Montmorency and Henri de Damville did not resemble each other, but neither the portraits in Ambras, which were clumsy, nor the engravings of the Armamentarium heroicum, allowed for this difference of appearance, let alone character. Although the portrait of Henri was known today, (aside from the clumsy Ambras portraits), thanks to the pencil of François Clouet dating from 1557 (Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 46.348) and a large later painting in Versailles, inv. MV 3221), it was not until the reappearance of our portrait that we have discovered the features of Marshal Damville – hitherto only exhibited at the exhibition of French Primitives at the Louvre in 1904, but never reproduced. Until now, the iconography of Damville appeared rich, but poor in works of quality. This prime portrait, carried out in all likelihood in 1566, when Henri de Montmorency received the marshal's baton, was hitherto only known through four replicas: two in Ambras and two in private collections, whose clumsy quality therefore did not allow for an attribution to a royal portraitist such as François Clouet or Jean Decourt (ill. 1-2). The two portraits preserved at Versailles with their flat modelling confirms their origins as early seventeenth century replicas (ill.5-6) . The same iconography, with short hair and pointed beard, is found in most of the engravings depicting Henri de Montmorency published under Henri III and Henri IV (ill.7). Finally, a fine anonymous pencil from the Cabinet des Estampes in the National Library of France shows Damville, then Duke of Montmorency and Constable of France, towards the end of his life having received the Order of the Holy Spirit (ill 8). It is this same portrait which appears in the illustrious gallery Chateau Beauregard (ill.9). All these works unambiguously confirm the identification of our painting, devoid of any old inscription, for despite the difference in technique and quality, the sitter is immediately recognizable, notably thanks to his strabismus – which also affected his son (Figure 10). With great delicacy and sensitivity, our painting is the most accurate depiction of Henri de Montmorency, one of the most complex and interesting characters of the troubled period of the French Wars of Religion. Quite the opposite of his elder brother, who had a round face and a strong nose, and rounded mournful eyes, Damville, in our portrait, has a thin and energetic face, a long nose, a fine forehead, and a pointed moustache worthy of a brilliant officer of cavalry. Affected by the hereditary Montmorency strabismus, his eyes are nonetheless sharp and piercing. His haughty, conquering, and singularly aristocratic appearance did not deceive Brantôme, who called him the ‘paragon of all chivalry', and recognized him as ‘a gallant man and a wise captain'. His fiery independent nature can easily be seen here. A man of the sword, a real warrior, a well-trained rider, ‘it was impossible to see a better man on horseback than he, armed or not'. A true knight of the Renaissance, one can see his literary and chivalrous aspirations in the name he chose for his third illegitimate son, ‘Esplandian' – one of the heroes of Amadis de Gaulle. Damville was clearly a great seducer, his strabismus serving only to goad him further in amorous pursuits. In our painting, Damville wears a black velvet collar with top-stitched sleeves, trimmed with silver stripes, and a white silk doublet embroidered with black and silver thread, of which only the sleeves are visible. This sumptuous and luxurious garment is brought together by a short collar trimmed with delicate lace and a black velvet cap beaded with pearls. The chain that bears the medallion of the Order of Saint Michel is of rare complexity, with entwined pearls and enamelled gold links. Damville's elegance is equalled only by that of his relative, Jacques de Savoie, Duc de Nemours, in his portrait, of which several versions are also known, of variable quality. It is hardly surprising that Brantôme cited them both as examples of perfect knighthood. The similarities in dress between the portraits of Damville and Nemours are the short collars, domed and decorated hats and intricate chains for their Order. Both paintings date to the end of the 1560s. Both men had been invested with provincial government at the same time (Lyonnais for Nemours in 1562, Languedoc for Damville in 1563) and already had the stature of statesmen by around 1566 – 1569, which would be crystalised by their portraits. In France under the reign of the last Valois, official court portraiture of the nobility was a duty of the king's painter. At that time the office was occupied by François Clouet, famous for his portraits capable of giving more than just a physical likeness, but for imbuing aristocratic virtue, and qualities of soul and character. Nicknamed ‘Janet', in a nod to his father, Jehannet Clouet (also an artist), François Clouet prepared each portrait with a drawing, of which several were preserved, recovered by Catherine de Medicis who collected them. These drawings, which are perfectly finished and very detailed, enabled portraiture that was finer than ever before, beginning with the studies of the royal family (Figure 13). Moreover, the paintings rarely follow the drawings with regard to the details of clothing, such as buttons, brocade, the design or the carving of jewelry. For each portrait, the garment was recreated in the workshop, which also explains the variations in embroidery or jewels from one panel to another. Clouet's patrons came to expect his work to be minutely detailed, more and more refined, yet avoiding repetition. Unfortunately, the whereabouts of the preparatory sketch for our portrait, which in all likelihood would have been in the possession of Catherine de Medicis, is no longer known. However, there is every reason to believe that it must be quite similar to that of Nemours (Figure 12). That drawing, found at Brodick Castle under the name of Charles IX, presents all the characteristics of a work from the Clouet workshop: the contours of the drawing are taken very exactly and the hands, curiously visible, foreshadow those of Élisabeth Of Austria in his famous painting at the Louvre (ill. 11). One recognizes the same virtuosic and steady hand in our painting, which comparison with the undoubtedly autograph works of Clouet confirms (Figures 14-15). The pale but pink flesh is modeled with subtle highlights and glazes in subtle chiaroscuro; the shadows are warm, the eyelashes are not detailed, and particular attention is paid to the rendering of depth. In the absence of the preparatory sketch, the under-drawing, perfectly visible with infrared rays, reveals some modifications that only the master could authorize. Thus, the upper eyelid of the right eye was initially placed lower. Modifying the contour of the eye contour also allowed the artist to retain the strabismus of his model. A certain dryness in the rendering of his beard, in comparison to the treatment of the ear and moustache, could be attributed to the intervention of a collaborator. In fact, like all the great Renaissance painters, Clouet was surrounded by several other artists and was in the habit of entrusting them with the completion of his works, both painted and drawn. Among these collaborators, some were perfectly trained and even had official duties, as did Jean Decourt (c. 1530 – 1584), painter of Mary Stuart and Clouet's successor as painter to the king. There is, however, little doubt that the essential part of the face, as well as the invention, if not the realization of the costume, belong to the master. The attention to minutiae, in fact, was a feature of the artist himself, and in our portrait the repetitiveness of forms, like the loops of braid, is apparent. Indeed, each loop is made up of several brushstrokes to suggest the reflection of light, while curvature and hue are carefully subordinate to volume and lighting. Every brushstroke inspired by the delicate silver embroidery which decorates the sleeves of the doublet is extraordinary, even distracting from the brilliance and the shimmer of a small shard of gold leaf caught in the pictorial layer, no doubt by chance. Our magnificent portrait is thus much more than simply an unavoidable piece in the iconography of Henri de Montmorency-Damville, head of the ‘Malcontents' and uncrowned King of Languedoc. It testifies to an evolution of style in the last years of the career of François Clouet, marked by a more pronounced detail and a virtuosic rendering of the costume – all the while without ever diverting the viewer's attention from the face of his model that he refuses to idealize – even when the latter suffers from strabismus. For Clouet understood how to illuminate the likeness with an inner strength, give his model a true presence. The sitter: Henri II de Montmorency, Seigneur de Damville, then Duc de Montmorency, Constable of France (Chantilly, 15 June 1534 - Agde, 2 April 1614) Born in 1534 at the Château de Chantilly, Henri de Montmorency was the second of the five sons of the Constable of France – Anne de Montmorency, and Madeleine of Savoy. Titled at his birth, Lord of Damville – and a name he carried until the death of his elder brother, François de Montmorency, in 1579 – he followed the traditional upbringing of a gentleman of good birth, facilitated by the great favour enjoyed by his father, as Constable to King Henri II. Like his brothers, Damville received a careful education in artistic and literary culture. He was a gentleman of the king's chamber as early as 1547. An outstanding horseman, he was passionate about the exercise of arms, distinguishing himself very young. At the age of twenty, he commanded a company of two hundred light-horse, distinguishing himself by his valour and military acumen during the German campaign known as the ‘voyage d'Austrasie', especially at the siege of Metz in 1552. He received the Order of Saint-Michel in 1557. On 26 January 1559, he married Ecouen Antoinette de la Marck, daughter of Robert IV de la Marck, Marshal of France, Duc de Bouillon, and Françoise de Brézé, daughter of Diane de Poitiers. This marriage brought him closer to the Lorraines, since Louise de Brézé, Diana's second daughter, was the wife of Claude, Duc d'Aumale, brother of the Duc de Guise and Mary, Queen of Scots. As a relative, Damville accompanied Mary Stuart to Scotland after the death of Francis II. In England, he obtained the good favour of Queen Elizabeth I, sending her his very best horses by way of a gift. During the civil wars, his first task was to escort Catherine de 'Medici in the interviews. At the battle of Dreux, on 19 January 1562, when his brother Gabriel died and his wounded father was taken prisoner, Damville fought fiercely to ensure the victory of the Catholics by the capture of the Prince of Condé, and restoring the Constable - his father's - liberty. The following year he was awarded the government of Languedoc, and from that time he hardly ever fought except in the south of France, where he acquired an almost royal position. Indeed, unlike his father who held the office before him, he chose to reside in Languedoc, rather than administering the country through a lieutenant general, which allowed him to add to an already strong territorial power. Close to the Dukes of Guise and Nemours, Damville began by taking the side of the uncompromising Catholics, which earned him the mistrust of the Queen Mother and the King, and provoking a rupture with his elder brother, François, who adhered to a policy of tolerance. The second half of the 1560s was marked by the gradual softening of Damville's views and reconciliation with his brother. In 1566 he obtained the baton of Marshal of France, then the general command of Dauphine, Province, Languedoc and Guyenne in 1569, though his disagreement with royal policy became manifest after the Saint-Barthélemy massacre in 1572. His dismissal as general commander in June 1574, and the disgrace and imprisonment of his brother, led him to revolt and form an alliance with the Huguenots of Languedoc. In his Declaration of 13 November 1574 at Montpellier, Damville condemned the massacre of 1572, explaining his taking up of arms as a defense of his honor and duty ‘as an officer of the Crown and Frenchman.' Damville took the lead of the ‘malcontents' during the fifth war of religion (1574 – 1576) and played a major role until the entry of Henri de Condé. Towards the end of the war he agreed to negotiate with the king. Two years later, his brother François having died, he left the name of Damville to his younger brother Charles, Seigneur de Méru, becoming Duc de Montmorency, Comte de Dammartin et d'Alais, Baron de Châteaubriant, and Seigneur de Chantilly et d'Écouen. His second take-over in 1585 was followed by a new reconciliation with Henry III in the winter of 1588 – 1589. At the news of the assassination of Henry III, the Duc de Montmorency submitted to Henry IV. He continued to fight the Ligueurs in Provence, then in Dauphiné. On 20 November 20, the king confirmed him as Governor and Lieutenant-general in Languedoc. Widowed in 1591, and having lost his only son Hercules, Count of Offemont, the duke remarried Louise de Budos, daughter of Jacques de Budos and Catherine de Clermont-Montoison, at Pézenas in 1593. After his abjuration, Henri IV appointed the duke as Constable of France. In a letter the king informed him that he had deferred the ceremonies of his coronation so that the duke might attend. The following year he left Languedoc and his castle of La Grange-des-Pres, next to Pezenas, and returned to the king, who brought him into the Council, and awarded him the Order of the Saint-Esprit in 1597. The Constable continued to watch over his government, where he left his son-in-law, Anne, Duke de Ventadour, as Governor. In 1595, his son, Henri, was born. Louise de Budos died only three years later at Chantilly in 1598, and so he married thirdly, Laurence de Clermont, maternal great-aunt to his children. In 1606, the Constable went to Languedoc to have his young son Henry recognized as a successor to the government of that province. After the assassination of the king, he remained two years at the court of the Queen Regent. Feeling the weight of his age, he resigned himself from his duchy- peerage in favor of his son, Henry II. The Constable spent the rest of his life in retreat and penance in his castle of the Grange-des-Près in Languedoc. According to his will, he was buried with the habit of a Franciscan, without any pomp, in the church of the Convent of the Capuchins of Notre-Dame de la Crau, which he had built. His heart was brought to the church of Montmorency. From his first marriage with Antoinette de la Marck, he had four children: Hercule, comte d'Offémont (1572 – 1593), died without alliance; Henri (1581 – 1583); Charlotte (1591 – 1636), married on 6 May 1591 to Charles de Valois, comte d'Auvergne, then duc d'Angoulême, natural son of Charles IX; Marguerite (1593 – 1660), married on 26 June 1593 to Anne de Lévis, duc de Ventadour. From his second wife, Louise de Budos, he had two children: Charlotte-Marguerite (1594 – 1650), married 13 March 1609 to Henry II of Bourbon, Prince of Condé; Henri II, Duc de Montmorency (1595 – 1632), Admiral of France (1612), Governor of Languedoc (1613), Marshal of France (1630); He took part in the plot of Gaston d'Orléans, raised his province against the king, was made prisoner at the battle of Castelnaudary, condemned to death by the Parliament of Toulouse, and decapitated after Louis XIII had refused him his pardon. The artist: François Clouet, called Janet (Tours ?, c. 1515 – Paris 1572) In spite of the artist's assertion in 1546 on selling his house in Touraine, that he was then ‘twenty-five years and over', everything suggests that he was actually born c. 1515. In 1540 he took over his father's workshop and as a painter and valet de chambre of the king. In 1541, Francis I proclaimed him sole heir to the property of Jean Clouet due to the king by right of windfall. He remained official portraitist of the kings of France until his death in 1572, responsible for all that concerned official representation: portraits painted, in pencil or miniature, but also profiles and patterns for currencies or effigies in wax for funerals. He was also solicited for decorative schemes, especially at royal or princely funerals – the magnitude and urgency of the task compelled him to associate himself with several Parisian painters – and other works of utilitarian painting – fleurs-de-lis, currencies etc., always paid separately. But his main activity was the realization of numerous portraits commissioned by Catherine de Medicis, his greatest admirer, without preventing him from working simultaneously for a court clientele. In 1547 he received no less than 50 gold crowns from the Vidame de Chartres (the exact reason for this payment is unknown), and at least two of his three signed works are not royal commissions: the portrait of his neighbor and a friend, the apothecary, Pierre Quthe, and that of the judge René Choppin, known by a bad engraving by Jean- Claude Flipart dating from 1715 (‘Jannet pinx.' ‘Effigies d'années 1570'). The third signed painting is not a portrait and depicts a lady in the bath (‘IANETII OPVS', Washington, National Gallery of Art, 1961.9.13). His financial situation was enviable. In addition to his fixed wages, he received exceptional payments, such as the 225 l.t. he received in 1547, or the appointment to the office of commissioner at the Chatelet of Paris on 14 July 1551. He also benefited from numerous annuities at the Hôtel de Ville (1,800 l. annually in 1572), and in particular that of 350 l. around 1567 from Claude de Beaune. The artist was thus able to endow his sister Catherine, who married Abel Foulon, to buy the house his father rented in the Rue Sainte Avoye, and in 1558 to acquire from Jacques Hervé, notary and secretary of the king, a country house in Vanves, a place popular with royal servants, with an acre and a half of vineyard and a garden full of fruit trees, all paid for with 1,100 l. t. Clouet led an important workshop where Scipio de Brimbal and probably Jean Décourt were working, and it is certainly known that two apprentices, Jean III Patin, who entered in 1553, and Francis de Brimbal, (brother of Scipio), who was taken for seven years in 1556 (though remaining only four years). Clouet never married, but had three illegitimate daughters: Marguerite, who died after 1554, and Jeanne Le Borgne, and twins Diane and Lucrece, baptized on 28 November 1563. According to the painter's will, on 21 September 1572, they each inherited 600 l. t. The artist was buried with his parents in the cemetery of the Saints-Innocents. His portrait is on the famous engraving of the ‘illustrious Men who flourished in France from the year 1500 to now' (so-called Chronologie collée), engraved around 1600 by Gaultier (No. 141). Alexandra Zvereva Art Historian Dr. in Modern History Centre Roland Mousnier (CNRS), Université Paris-Sorbonne March 2017.
William Larkin (c.1585 – 1619), Lady Jane Thornagh (c.1600 – 1661), 1617. Oil on panel, 44 ¾ x 33 in. (113.8 x 83.8 cm). The Weiss Gallery © 2017 London Art Week
Provenance: By descent through the Thornaghs of Fenton and Osberton, Nottinghamshire to John Thornhagh (d.1787), of Osberton and Shireoaks, Nottinghamshire; thence to his second daughter and sole heir, Mary Arabella Thornagh (1749 – 1790), who married in 1774 Francis Moore (1749 – 1814), of Aldwarke, who inherited the estates of his uncle, Thomas Foljambe, and assumed the name Foljambe by Act of Parliament; Thence by descent with the Foljambes of Osberton to G.M.T. Foljambe, by whom sold, Christies, London, 8 July 2008, lot 18; Private collection, England.
Literature: The Weiss Gallery, Tudor and Stuart Portraits: From the Collections of the English Nobility and their Great Country Houses, 2012, cat. no. 10.
Exhibited: Madrid, The March Foundation, The Island of Treasure: British Art from Holbein to Hockney, 5 October 2011 – 20 January 2012.
English School, Elizabeth I of England (1533–1603). Oil on panel, 17 ¾ x 13 ½ in. (45.2 x 34.4 cm). The Weiss Gallery © 2017 London Art Week
Provenance: Acquired in London in the 1960s by Mary Hill Bishop (d. 1991), Chelsea Park Gardens; and by descent to Mary Kennard Perry (d. 2003), USA; and by descent to Private collection, Germany, until 2017.
Note: ‘Are you travelling to the temple of Eliza?' ‘Even to her temple are my feeble limbs travelling. Some call her Pandora: some Gloriana: some Cynthia: some Belphoebe: some Astraea: all by several names to express several loves: Yet all those names make but one celestial body, as all those loves meet to create but one soul.' Thomas Dekker, Old Fortunatus (1599) Roy Strong quotes this pean to Queen Elizabeth in Dekker's court play of 1599, as a perfect summary of the Elizabethan ‘cult' – the image she had carefully crafted and perpetuated through her reign. However, this rare early portrait of Elizabeth is notable for its life-like depiction of the queen early on in her reign – indeed before the construction of the Elizabethan iconography we associate with the Queen today. In other words, that associated with the ‘Rainbow' and ‘Armada' portraits in which Elizabeth was presented as a remote goddess and perfected emblem of her own self-fashioning; images where she perfectly embodied Statehood, Empire, and a God-given right to rule. The unknown artist who painted our more life-like representation makes use of the ‘Hampden' portrait face-pattern. The Hampden portrait was an important full-length panel of the queen, made in the early 1560s. It was one of the first official court images of the young monarch from which a number of subsequent portraits including the present work were modelled. Infra-red examination of our version reveals careful under-drawing to define the contours of the face. Conservator Rosie Gleave of the Courtauld Institute of Art, has noted that our portrait is very likely cut down from a larger composition: ‘Physical evidence, including the presence of large dowels at the side of the painting… and later, roughly beveled edges, strongly suggests that the panel was once a larger image. It may have been a ¾ or full-length portrait, in line with other version based on the Hampden portrait.' The Hampden portrait is thought to have been painted when Elizabeth was forced to address the issue of her marriage during the succession crisis of 1562/63. It is the only known image of the ‘Virgin Queen' that alludes to the possibility of her becoming a wife and a mother: the background to the right of the portrait presents a portal into a brilliantly painted array of foliage, fruit and flowers, alluding to the queen's potential fertility. She also holds a carnation in her right hand, traditionally a flower used in marriage portraits, while a rose is pinned to her chest. The rose was both the Queen's flower, and an allusion to the Tudor dynasty, but also an allusion to Venus, goddess of love, and on the other hand, to Christ. Christ's bride, perhaps, for she never would marry another. The ‘Hampden' full-length was in an inventory of the Lumley collection in 1590, noted as by ‘the famous painter Steven'. That painter was long presumed to be Steven van der Meulen, an Anglo-Flemish artist active in England from around 1560. However, recent discovery of that artist's will, written on 5 October 1563, dramatically reduced his potential oeuvre, bringing into question his authorship of the portrait of Elizabeth. It was suggested that ‘the famous painter Steven' may well have been the Anglo-Flemish artist, Steven van Herwijck (c. 1530 – c. 1565), who was briefly active in England from 1562 – 1563; however, this hypothesis has been dismissed by scholars in the field. Stylistically, we can however assume that the artist of the Hampden portrait, and its associated versions, was very likely Anglo-Flemish. Surprisingly, Elizabeth never appointed an official court painter, and she appears to have sat for only a handful of artists. Roy Strong pin-points only five specific artists that may have painted her through her reign – Levina Teerlinc in 1551, Nicholas Hilliard around 1572, Federico Zuccaro in 1575, and Unknown French Master in 1581 and Cornelius Ketel. The majority of her portraits were executed by anonymous artists working from court sanctioned prototypes, and of course there were many unauthorized images. In 1563, just over five years into Elizabeth's reign, and presumably after the present portrait type had been disseminated, Sir William Cecil drafted a proclamation designed to control the production of the monarch's image, forbidding further portraits of Elizabeth being made until an appropriate model (in the form of a face pattern) could be provided to artists to copy from. After this, ‘hir Majestie will be content that all other painters, or engravers…shall and maye at ther pleasures follow the sayd patron or first portraictur'. Later in her reign, in 1596, the queen's Privy Council ordered public officers to assist in destroying ‘unseemly' portraits – offering a further insight into a rather despotic and perhaps even vain desire to control her iconography.
Michaelina Wautier (c.1617 - 1689), Martino Martini (1614 – 1661), an Italian Jesuit missionary in China, 1654. Oil on canvas ( inscription in Chinese upper right: ‘Wei Kuang Guo’ (sitter’s name), 27 1⁄4 x 23 1/8 in. (69.5 x 59 cm). The Weiss Gallery © 2017 London Art Week
Provenance: Auction, Dobiaschofsky, Bern, 18 – 19 October 1973, Lot 665, (incorrectly identified as ‘Johannes Hus'); Private collection, Switzerland, until 2016; Koller Auction House, Zurich, 23 March 2016, lot 3057.
Literature: K. Van der Stighelen, ‘Prima inter pares. Over de voorkeur van aartshertog Leopold-Wilhelm voor Michaelina Woutiers (c.1620 – 1682)', in: H. Vlieghe & K. van der Stighelen, (ed.): Sponsors of the Past. Flemish Art and Patronage 1550 – 1700, pp. 91-116, fig. 24 & p. 108. The painting has been requested for a forthcoming exhibition on the artist to be held at the Rubenshuis, Antwerp in the summer of 2018, curated by K. van der Stighelen.
Note: This remarkable painting is an extraordinary, indeed unique portrayal of the Italian Jesuit missionary Martino Martini, who settled in 1643 in the Chinese city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. It was painted in 1654 by the exceptional female artist, Flemish-born Michaelina Wautier, when Martini was passing through the Archducal court at Brussels. He was en route from China to Rome where he would arrive in the spring of 1655 to present on behalf of the Chinese Mission Superior. Pivotally, Wautier painted Martini in Manchu costume, and inscribed his name on the portrait in Chinese characters. This was an important symbolic reference to Martini's support of an ‘inculturated' approach to Christian indoctrination in Jesuit missionary practice. Michaelina Wautier was exceptional as a female artist, turning her hand to all genres, excelling at portrait, history, still life, and everyday scenes. Her paintings display a power of observation that is reminiscent of the great Baroque painters of her day, certainly on a par with if not even more astonishing than her Italian counterpart, Artemisia Gentileschi. Wautier's oeuvre today consists of around twenty-nine paintings including the present, newly ascribed portrait, and one drawing. This portrait is unique as a study of an older, Jesuit missionary, with the added allure of its unusual Oriental connection. Clearly painted from life, Wautier closely crops the picture plane to enhance Martini's immediacy. He does not face the spectator, instead concentrating on something beyond the picture frame. Lost deep in thought, he solicits a general feeling of melancholy contemplation – which Wautier has brilliantly conceived with the limpid white highlights to his eyes. She has observed this with what could be considered a particularly female sensibility. In turn, the padded blue silk of Martini's oriental costume adds physical weight to his presence that belies the ethereal quality of his expression. Martini's full beard and red fur-lined Manchu cap highlight his exoticism, and the fluid rendering of his beard is astonishing. Wautier's brushwork varies from subtle touches to more vigorous strokes, rendering the different textures of skin, drapery and hair with great confidence. Martino Martini, cartographer, historian and Jesuit missionary, was born in Trento, becoming a Jesuit in 1631 and studying Classics and Philosophy at the Roman College in Rome (1634 – 1637). From 1637 – 1639 he studied theology in Lisbon, where he was ordained a priest. His request to travel as a missionary to China had been granted as early as 1637, but he did not set out for China until 1640, arriving in Portuguese Macau in 1642, where he studied Chinese before continuing his travels. In 1643 he settled in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, from where he travelled through northern China to compile geographic data on the country. He was very much a self-styled adventurer, travelling in the midst of the Manchu conquest – at that time the Ming capital of Beijing had fallen to rebel control, and the last legitimate Ming Emperor, the Chongzhen Emperor, had hung himself. According to Martini's own writings which appeared in some editions of his De bello tartarico, the Jesuit was able to switch his allegiance to China's new Qing Dynasty with relative ease. He shaved his head in the Manchu way, and his Chinese dress and hat were worn in the Manchu- style, as seen in the present portrait. Thus the Manchus allowed him to return to his Hangzhou church, providing him and the Hangzhou Christian community with necessary protection. Nonetheless, David E. Mungello notes that for Martini's first four years in Hangzhou the missionary must have stayed relatively close to Hangzhou as the Baitou peasant uprising would have made travel very dangerous. Martini must have been a charismatic and convincing character, for he ultimately engratiated himself sufficiently with the Manchus, in spite of having possibly entered into the service of one of the Ming pretenders, the Longwu emperor (Zhu Yujia) – supposedly forging a cannon for the Ming general Liu Zhongcao, earning him the name of ‘gunpowder mandarin' (huo-yao dachen). His split allegiances ultimately caused Martini to alienate fellow Jesuit, Fr. Adam Schall von Bell (1592 – 1666) at the Bureau of Astronomy in Beijing, with whom Martini had hoped to obtain an official appointment. Schall was concerned that Martini's association with the Ming Pretender would damage the Jesuits' tenuous standing with the new rulers of China. Thus when in 1651 Martini left China for Rome as the Delegate of the Chinese Mission Superior, his departure was timely. He took advantage of the long, adventurous voyage (going first to the Philippines, from thence on a Dutch privateer to Bergen, Norway, which he reached on 31 August 1653, and then to Amsterdam). He met with printers in Antwerp, Vienna and Munich to submit historical and cartographic data on China, and the works printed made him famous. It was at this time that he must have met with and commissioned Wautier to paint his portrait, passing through the Archducal court at Brussels, presumably in 1654. Indeed, Wautier was very likely introduced to Martini by Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, whom he had met in Antwerp earlier that year. Wautier was one of the Archduke's favourite painters, owning no less than four paintings by her (now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna). The inventory of his collection, drawn up in Vienna in 1659, today provides the most important contemporary source of information about her works, and notably Wautier was the only woman painter represented in his outstanding collection. From this one can assume she must also have been held in high regard in the context of the court of Archduke Albrecht and Archduchess Isabella at Brussels. The importance of the commission for Martino Martini is not to be underestimated. His report to Rome hung in the balance for the Chinese Jesuit missionaries. In the spring of 1655 he finally reached Rome where he presented a detailed communication from the Chinese Jesuit missionaries in defence of their ‘inculturated' approach to indoctrination. Their belief in allowing the so-called ‘Chinese Rites' – veneration of ancestors, and other practices to new Chinese Christians was a pivotal and contentious doctrine. In Wautier's powerful portrait, Martini's decision to be shown in Manchu dress was no coincidence: it was an important statement of his political position in Jesuit missionary practice – his support of a degree of cultural appropriation and tolerance. Discussions and debates in Rome took place for five months, at the end of which the church issued a decree in favour of the Jesuits on 23 March 1656 – no small accomplishment on Martini's part. After a dramatic return voyage to China (in which he was captured by pirates near Valencia, Spain), Martini finally arrived back at Hangzhou in June of 1659, able to report his favourable result. He was again involved in pastoral and missionary activities in the Hangzhou area, supported in his plans by the influential governor of Zhejiang province, Tong Guoqi – a member of the famous Tong clan of Fushun, who had collaborated with the Manchus during the conquest of the Ming. The family had become so influential and filled so many offices in the palace that they were known as the family that ‘fills half the court' (Tong ban chao). Tong Guoqui had been introduced to Christianity when the Manchus conquered Beijing, and he disliked the cramped Hangzhou church, urging Martini to build a new church, which still stands today. Martini acquired a plot of land in the northern part of the city near Heavenly Water Bridge (Tianshui quiao), just inside the North Wall Gate. He initiated the construction of a three-naves church, considered as one of the most beautiful in the country. It took from 1659 until 1661 to complete, but sadly Martini never lived to see its completion, dying very suddenly in June of 1661 after overdosing on a potent cathartic drug in attempts to relieve digestive problems probably associated with cholera. His tomb can still be seen today in the churchyard at Hangzhou. Martini is now most famous for his colourfully descriptive journals of his travels and his pioneering cartography of China, from which the first European maps of the country were engraved. Indeed, he is acclaimed as the father of Chinese geographical science, and the first to study the history and geography of China with rigorous scientific objectivity. Wautier was probably born in Mons, southwest of Brussels. Her father was engaged as secretary to the Viceroy of Naples, but died shortly after Michaelina's birth. There is no proof that she lived anywhere other than Mons in her early years, and nothing is known of her training. Her older brother, Charles Wautier (1609 – 1703) was also an artist, and it is plausible that her career was made possible by his success. In 1643 they resided together in Brussels – the year of her earliest dated work. Although Charles was some nine years older than Michaelina, it is important to note that nonetheless his dated works are considerably later, between 1652 – 1668. Prof. Van der Stighelen has noted that Michaelina's style shows little evidence of the influence of the contemporary masters of the ‘Flemish Baroque', but more poignantly displays a French influence, specifically of Simon Vouet (1590 – 1649) and Philippe de Champaigne (1602 – 1674). She also notes the possible influence of Michael Sweerts (1618 – 1664), her direct contemporary. In 1646 Sweerts was in Italy, but is recorded as having earlier established an ‘accademie van die teeckeninge naer het leven' (life drawing academy) in Brussels. Michaelina certainly produced male nudes from life, while her portraits, cloaked in diffuse light and sitters clothed in garments hung in broad folds, are comparable to those of Sweerts.
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