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Jacob Jordaens: 'Portrait of Govaert van Surpele (?) and his Wife'

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Govaert van Surpele (1593 - 1674) was a native of Diest in South Brabant, where he held the post of President de la Loi in 1636/7, as well as being a member of three local militia companies. He married first Catharina Cools, who died in 1629, and then in 1636 Catharina Coninckz. The painting, which shows the van Surpele arms (top centre), probably dates from the time of Govaert's second marriage.

The composition was designed originally as a three-quarter-length portrait. In the final painting the substantial figures, shown at full length, have a commanding presence, while a domestic note is sounded by the dog crouching on the floor. Van Surpele holds upright in the centre of the painting his staff of office, to which his wife gestures with her left hand.

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