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 woman is dressed in black with white lace rendered in astonishing precision and accuracy. Her portrait is part of a custom double portrait, with her husband’s image to be placed on the left side. Her face is solemn, and her eyes gaze from the canvas in an unflinching manner. The buttons on her dress are painted in gold which run from her neck down to her waist splitting the bottom of the canvas in two. She holds a white textile in her left hand. Adorning her left hand is a double banded ring, complete with a red gem and a blue gem. Cornelis van der Voort and his contemporaries focused on the minute details such as the pattern on a textile, the application of lace to a sleeve or the individual lines that would make up a head full of hair. For the artists in the North, art was all about painstakingly rendering the details. This is evident in Portrait of a Lady.