Skip to main content
Portrait of Constantijn Huygens and his (?) Clerk
Thomas de Keyser
/

Constantijn Huygens was a senior diplomat who spoke several languages and had a wide knowledge of the arts and sciences. In this portrait, he’s caught in action, receiving a message from a young clerk. Interrupted in his work, he wears a riding outfit as if ready to be up and off in a moment on state business.

The items that de Keyser chose to put on Huygens’s table tell of his official duties and his many other interests and talents – there’s a chitarrone (a plucked instrument), architectural plans and a pair of terrestrial and celestial globes.

Huygens was probably the most influential figure in the cultural life of the Dutch Republic. He wrote poetry and designed gardens and knew the scientists and artists of his day, including Rembrandt. De Keyser’s portrait celebrates the spirit of the Dutch Republic in one urbane and brilliant man.

Key facts
Artist Thomas de Keyser
Artist dates 1596/7 - 1667
Full title Portrait of Constantijn Huygens and his (?) Clerk
Date made 1627
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 92.4 x 69.3 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Richard Simmons, 1847
Inventory number NG212
Location in Gallery Room 28
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo