Antonie Palamedesz


Oil on canvas, 83.5 x 68 cm
On the left, at the top of the portrait - age, date and signature: Aet. 52/Ao. 1658/ APalamedes pinxit

The portrait genre in Dutch painting has a special historical significance. In a century when the Baroque style dominated Europe, it was the portrait that gave rise to Dutch realistic art. For this phenomenon, the 17th century was called the “golden age of Dutch painting.” After the victory in the war for the independence of the Northern Netherlands from the Spanish Crown, in the wake of patriotic upsurge, national pride for their country and people, a request arose in society for group portraits of representatives of Dutch democracy: bodies of the new government, members of professional guilds, militia units, etc. A typology was formed. democratic Dutch portrait as the antithesis of an aristocratic portrait. Compare the portraits of Dutch artist Frans Hals with the baroque ceremonial portraits of Flemish artist Anthony van Dyck.

Another aspect that influenced the formation of the Dutch realistic portrait was Dutch Protestantism with its special attitude towards the physical body. The modern viewer is always discouraged by the excessive physiology in the genre paintings of Dutch artists. The prominence of the biological in human behavior is explained by the fact that the central idea of Dutch art of the 17th century was the “affirmation of life itself” in all its manifestations. This was reflected in the Dutch portrait. The customer expected the artist to depict his face and figure without embellishment and idealization, “as is.” At the same time, a realistic depiction of the face was an important prerequisite for conveying the subtle psychological characteristics of the person being portrayed, right down to his “biography.” That is why from a Dutch portrait of the 17th century it is not just a face that looks at us, but a living person with his destiny. That is why Dutch portraits are of exceptional artistic value.

Dutch realism