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Nicolaes Maes, Portrait of Jan de Reus

Key facts
Full title Portrait of Jan de Reus
Artist Nicolaes Maes
Artist dates 1634 - 1693
Date made 1670s
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 79 × 62.5 cm
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2581
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of Jan de Reus
Nicolaes Maes

Jan de Reus is about 70 years old in this portrait. He looks out from a dark background, his lined face framed by the long curls of a full-bottomed wig. Each wrinkle is rendered with meticulous care. His mouth is sensitive, though the lips are perhaps not as clearly defined as they once would have been. His deep brown eyes are sunk back in his head but they seem to radiate intelligence, maturity and wisdom. It seems as if Nicolas Maes has painted the picture as a celebration of old age.

De Reus was an eminent Rotterdam citizen. Although showing the influence of the innovative, relaxed style of Anthony van Dyck in the depiction of the old man’s costume, Maes seems more to return to lessons learned from Rembrandt, his teacher, painting what he saw unflinchingly. Rembrandt esteemed his aged sitters, as Maes does in this portrait, and seems to have enjoyed being with them too.

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