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G. Donck, Portrait of Jan van Hensbeeck, his Wife and a Child

Key facts
Full title A Family Group (Jan van Hensbeeck and his Wife, Maria Koeck, and a Child ?)
Artist G. Donck
Artist dates active 1627 - 1640
Date made probably 1630s
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 76 × 106.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1890
Inventory number NG1305
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of Jan van Hensbeeck, his Wife and a Child
G. Donck

Donck, whose signature is below the stump in the foreground, left almost no trace in the historical records. We don‘t even know his first name, only that he signed several small genre and portrait paintings between 1627 and 1640 and that he may have worked in Amsterdam.

The sitters here were named in 1891 but the evidence for this identification is lost. If it is van Hensbeeck and Koeck we know little about them, except that van Hensbeeck bought two houses in Utrecht in 1648. There’s a deathbed portrait of Koeck Claesdr, dated 1679, by Christiaan Jansz. Dusart.

All three sitters wear expensive fabrics and the husband appears to be gesturing proprietorially to his estates. The basket of grapes may be a biblical reference to the women’s fertility: ’Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine...' (Psalm 128: 3). The cathedral in the far distance maybe the Dom of Utrecht before the nave collapsed in 1674.

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