By Angela Gonzalez, Curatorial Intern
Cornelis van der Voort was a Flemish artist who settled in the Dutch Republic once his hometown of Antwerp fell captive to the Spanish in 1585. He set up in Amsterdam and became one of the city’s leading portraitists. He was elected head of the Guild of St. Luke which united all the professional painters in that city.
Van der Voort presents a sober, yet elegant portrayal of the affluent Dutch Republic. The custom double portrait features a man on the left and his wife which would be placed on the right. The arrangement of the portraits was traditional. This arrangement illustrates the man presenting his wife to the world. His right hand rests on a table top and he his dressed in all black attire with cuffs of white on his sleeves. Although his coat is black, the pattern of the textile is revealed through the careful use of highlights. The buttons that run down the front of his coat are each individualized. Carefully, a sash is tied in a knot around his waist. In his beard are lines upon lines to form his facial hair. A touch of grey in the beard demonstrates the man’s age in comparison to his wife. This portrait is a prime example of the Northern European artists and their attention to detail.