Nicolaes Maes - Portrait of a Boy with a Dog and a Bird
Portrait of a Boy with a Dog and a Bird
Oil on canvas (relined). 58 x 47 cm.
Signed lower left: MAES.
Nicolaes Maes was an apprentice in Rembrandt's Amsterdam workshop around 1648, and in his first years as a free master in 1653/54 his style was still heavily indebted to that of his master. Around 1600 he began to devote himself almost entirely to portrait painting, and at this time his style moved towards an ever more vivid use of colour and an increasingly elegant form of depicting figures. In his children's portraits he was able to achieve results that were both charming and representative, which gained him a reputation as one of the most convincing painters of children's portraits both in the Netherlands and in general.
This fine portrait of a small boy, who as yet remains unidentified, is one of a group of works representative of the artist's later style, which was dominated by powerful modelling and vivid colours. A work kept in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne is similar to the present in composition and gesture (cf. Ekkehard Mai (ed.): Das Kabinett des Sammlers, Cologne 1993, no. 69, p. 174, illus.), as is a work sold by Christie's in 1999 (Christie`s, 16.4.1999, lot 61). Both pieces depict the same brown and white Spaniel, and here the child is shown protecting a bird from its attentions.
H. de Beaumont Randolph, Yate House, Gloucestershire. - Auctioned by Christie's, London, 5.3.1920, lot 125 (for 180 guinees to „Abrahams”). - Mrs. Mildmay-White, 1970 (with the label of an exhibition in Plymouth to the reverse). – Auctioned by Sotheby's, New York, 12.1.1989, lot 40. – Private collection, Rhineland.
„Art treasures from Westcountry Collections”, City Museum & Art Gallery, Plymouth, 20.8.-30.9.1970, no. 21.