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Jacob Jordaens, Portrait of Cornelis van Diest (?) and his Wife

Key facts
Full title Portrait of Cornelis van Diest (?) and his Wife
Artist Jacob Jordaens
Artist dates 1593 - 1678
Date made 1636-8
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 213.3 × 189 cm
Acquisition credit Acquired from the 11th Duke of Devonshire by application of the 1956 Finance Act, 1958
Inventory number NG6293
Location Central Hall
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of Cornelis van Diest (?) and his Wife
Jacob Jordaens

This full-length double portrait of a married couple is a powerful image of the pride and prosperity of seventeenth-century Flanders and its citizens. Dressed in costly black silk garments, both sitters are looking confidently at us. The woman sitting in a red velvet upholstered armchair sports an abundance of gold jewellery. The man standing proudly to the right holds a tall staff and displays a bold red sash and an ornate sword; all three suggest that he held a military office. The portrait seems to have a slightly comical note: the man looks bemused, and his expression is mirrored by the little dog looking straight at us.

The sitters are almost certainly Cornelis van Diest, dean of the guild of cloth manufacturers and captain of the city militia in Antwerp, and his wife Lucretia Courtois. They were probably acquainted with the artist.

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