Attributed to Herman Mijnets Doncker (Dutch, 1600-1666)
A fine evocation of the Dutch Golden Age goes under the hammer at Sworders on July 22. The painting of a family group attributed to Herman Mijnets Doncker (1600-66) was unearthed at a recent valuation and comes by descent within a Dutch family now living in the UK.
The so-called Golden Age was the period in the history of the Netherlands spanning roughly a century from 1581 (the birth of the Dutch republic) and 1672 (the onset of the Franco-Dutch War). It was during this period that Dutch science, trade, art and naval power were among the most acclaimed in the world.
While painters in 17th century Catholic Europe could rely on church patronage, artists in the Protestant nations appealed to the wealthy ‘middling sort’ and mercantile merchants for custom. In place of saints and biblical ‘history’ paintings, Dutch Baroque artists instead championed the abundant still life, the scenic landscape, seascapes redolent of naval power, genre painting and portraiture.
This oil on panel painting attributed to Doncker, who worked in Haarlem in the 1630s, combines two of those genres. It shows a family group of a successful merchant with his wife and two children in typical 17th century attire, standing by the shore as a merchantman ship sails for the East. The son and heir is positioned centre stage with a daughter relegated to the left of the composition. The identities of the quartet are now unknown but perhaps the family are investors in the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (better known this side of the North Sea as the Dutch East India Company), the megacorporation founded in the early 17th century. The piece will emerge in Sworders Fine Interiors two-day sale with an estimate of £3,000-5,000.
For more information about this lot, or any of the paintings in the sale, please contact Sarah Flynn
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