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Aelbert Cuyp, Portrait of Cornelis van Someren

Key facts
Full title Portrait of Cornelis van Someren
Artist Aelbert Cuyp
Artist dates 1620 - 1691
Date made 1649
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 68.9 × 60.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1869
Inventory number NG797
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of Cornelis van Someren
Aelbert Cuyp

Aelbert Cuyp is famous for his landscapes but he also painted a small number of portraits, of which this is a rare example. For some time it was believed that the sitter might be Cuyp’s father, Jacob, a portraitist who taught his son to paint. However, it is now believed to depict Cornelis van Someren (1593–1649), a prominent Dordrecht doctor who was 56 years old in 1649, the age and date inscribed on the picture. This suggestion seems to be confirmed by a matching pendant portrait of a woman whose age is given on the picture as 49 years old, the same as that of van Someren’s wife. The focus is very directly on the face of the sitter, and Cuyp has paid close attention to the texture and details of the skin. The way the sunlight streams in from the left, creating such a strong and clear shadow, also gives a greater sense of depth and reality to what might otherwise have been a rather flat image.

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