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Jan de Braij, Portrait of Anna Westerbaen

Key facts
Full title Portrait of Anna Westerbaen
Artist Jan de Braij
Artist dates about 1626/7 - 1697
Date made 1657
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 66.4 × 50.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Presented by Alfred Fowell Buxton, 1894
Inventory number NG1423
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of Anna Westerbaen
Jan de Braij

A woman shown in three-quarter length turns her head slightly, meeting our gaze with a stern expression. She is wearing a black peaked cap, a black dress and flat white collar that extends below her shoulders. Her restrained clothes and the dark background give this portrait a formal and rather stiff character, but Jan de Braij still managed to convey a sense of the sitter’s personality.

For years the painting was called Portrait of a Woman with a Black Cap, but we can now be certain that it shows the artist’s mother, Anna Westerbaen. The features of the woman resemble her likeness in other paintings and her age – 52 in 1657 – matches the painting’s inscription.

Jan de Braij was one of the most important history painters of his time, but he was also a distinguished portrait painter. After the death of Frans Hals, de Braij became the favourite portraitist of the Haarlem elite.

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