Gerson Digital : Poland


3.2 Engravers and Portrait Painters

After these mannerist examples, with Dutch and Flemish influences that cannot be rigorously separated, we turn to a group of Dutch-schooled engravers, whom we will enumerate only briefly: Daniel Block, who was born in Stettin in 1580, hailed from a Utrecht family.1 In 1636Willem Hondius (c. 1598/99-in or before 1660) [1] travelled from The Hague to Danzig, where he received ample work from the Polish kings and the nobility [2]. He was the teacher of Steven de Praet [3]. Jeremias Falck (c. 1610-1677) [4], who was born in Danzig and worked extensively in the Northern Netherlands and Sweden, was a product of the school of Cornelis Bloemaert the Younger.2David Loggan (1634-1692) went to England.3

Willem Hondius after Anthony van Dyck
Portrait of Willem Hondius (1598-1652/1658)
paper, copper engraving, 1st state 254 x 174 mm
Whereabouts unknown

Willem Hondius
Portrait of Bohdan Khmelnyckyi (1595-1657), chief of the Ukrainian Cossacks, 1651 (dated)
paper, engraving 320 x 215 mm
lower center : Guilhelmus Hondius Haga batavus S.R.M.tis Chalcographus sculpsit Cum privil.o S.R.M.s Gedani An°. MDCLI
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie

Steven de Praet after Willem Hondius
The Cabel Car in Danzig, c. 1644-1646
paper, copper engraving 185 x 300 mm
Gdańsk, Muzeum Narodowe w Gdańsku

Jeremias Falck after Daniel Schultz
Portrait of prince Bogusław Radziwiłł (1620-1669), 1654 (dated)
paper 317 x 228 mm
lower center : Illustrissimus et Celissimus Princeps Dominus Boguslaus Radziuil Dei Gratia Dux Bierzarum, Dubincorum Sluciae & Copilae, Sac. Rom. Imp. Princeps, Comes Stabuli, Magni Ducatus Litvaniae, Exteranei in Regno Poloniae Exercitus atq Custodiae Regy Corporis Generalis Branscensis, Barensis Posternentensis etc. etc. Gubernator
Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum

Hendrick Goltzius
Portrait of Balthasar Báthory de Somlyó (1560-1594), 1583 (dated)
paper, copper engraving 278 x 172 mm
upper center : B.B.D.S. Aetat 22
Cambridge (England), Fitzwilliam Museum, inv./ P.7349-R

The greatest demand from abroad was always for Netherlandish portrait painters, and the rulers were the first to take notice of them. The printmakers whom we just named were primarily engravers of portraits. In this connection we can also point to Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617), who in 1583 portrayed two Polish noblemen who were visiting the Netherlands [5-6].4 When Ladislaus Sigismund III travelled to the Netherlands in 1624,5 he had himself portrayed by Pieter Soutman (c. 1593/1601-1657) (pictures in Schleissheim [7]6 and Stockholm [8]7 ) and awarded him the title of Polish court painter. We are not sure whether Soutman travelled to Poland. In any case, he cannot have been there for long, as we encounter him back in Haarlem in 1628.8

Hendrick Goltzius
Portrait of Stanisław Sobocki (1556-after 1600), 1583 (dated)
paper, copper engraving 246 x 165 mm
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, inv./ BdH 24125 (PK)

after Pieter Soutman
Portrait of King Sigismund III Vasa of Poland (1566-1632) in coronation robe, c. 1642
canvas, oil paint 220 x 131.8 cm
Munich, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, inv./ 984

attributed to Cornelis de Vos
Portrait od Sigismund III (1566-1632), King of Sweden and Poland, c. 1625
canvas, oil paint 265.8 x 184 cm
Mariefred, Gripsholm Slott

Pieter Danckerts (1605-1660)9 served two Polish kings as portrait painter and architect. He appears to have gone to Poland in 1634, as both a portrait of his parents [9-10] and the earliest Polish portrait of Adam Kazanowski [11] (engraved by Willem Hondius) date from that year.10 This same gentleman was portrayed in 1648 by Maerten Couwenburch, this being another portrait that was engraved by Hondius [12].11 Danckert’s architectonic key work is the Saint Casimir chapel in the cathedral of Wilna (Vilnius), which he also decorated with frescos.12

Pieter Danckerts
Portrait of Adam Kazanowski (1599-1649), 1638 (dated)
canvas, oil paint 119.5 x 94.5 cm
lower right : P... Danckers fecit / Aetatis SVAE / Anno 1638
Kraków, Zamek Królewski na Wawelu, inv./ 6196

Pieter Danckerts
Portrait of Cornelis Danckerts de Rij (1561-1634), dated 1634
canvas, oil paint 81.5 x 67 cm
lower right : DERij
Brussels, Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België, inv./ 44

Pieter Danckerts
Portrait of Oede Seyl (c. 1571-after 1634), 1634 (dated)
canvas, oil paint 81.5 x 67 cm
left center : A° 1634 / Pr DANCKERSE.FECIT
Brussels, Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België, inv./ 45

Willem Hondius after Maerten Couwenburch
Portrait of Adam Kazanowski (1599-1649), 1648 (dated)
paper, copper engraving 350 x 250 mm
Cambridge (England), Fitzwilliam Museum, inv./ P.7411-R

Franz Kessler (1580-after 1650), who studied with Geldorp Gortzius in Cologne and was therefore exposed to the Netherlandish manner, left this city in 1635, being German Reformed, to head for Danzig. The works of his Danzig phase [13-15] are freer and airier than the stiff portraits of his Cologne years.13 Through interventions on the part of Polish emissaries, portraits of English rulers painted by Daniël Mijtens came to be shipped to Warsaw.14

Portrait painting in Danzig and Poland was therefore decidedly Dutch in character, at least in so far as the indigenous painters recognized the superiority of foreign ones. The portraits by Salomon Wegner (1590-1645/1649) (engraved by Falck) are already Netherlandish in conception [16].

The Danzig painter Adolf Boy (1612-1680), secretary to Ladislaus IV, had his portraits engraved by both Hondius and Falck [17-18]. Boy was not exclusively a portraitist. His ‘contact with Dutch art’ was also evident in his altarpieces [19] and genre scenes.15 Boy’s son-in-law August Ranisch (c. 1620-1653), on the contrary, was more closely inspired by Van Dyck’s paintings [20].

Franz Kessler
Portrait of Nikolaus Konstantin (?) Giese, dated 1642
canvas, oil paint 129 x 84 cm
upper left : Anno 1642
Wilanów (Warschau), Muzeum Pałacu Króla Jana III w Wilanowie

Franz Kessler
Portrait of Adolphus Munster, dated 1645
canvas, oil paint 101.6 x 78.74 cm
upper right : Anno 1645 Aetatis 4 / F.K.
American Art Association (New York City) 1927-11-22 - 1927-11-23, nr. 24

Franz Kessler
Portrait of Maria Munster, dated 1645
unknown, oil paint 101.6 x 78.74 cm
upper left : 1645 Aetatis 25 / F.K.
American Art Association (New York City) 1927-11-22 - 1927-11-23, nr. 25

Jeremias Falck after Salomon Wegner
Portrait of Daniel Dilger , reverent in Danzig (1572-1645), 1648 (dated)
paper, copper engraving 313 x 220 mm
lower center : Ecce sacrum Gedani fulmen, Tonitrùque beatum,/Quo valide movit plurima corda Deus/An vero potuit Dilgerum pingere sculptor?/Pingere quis fulmen? quis Tonitruque potest?/Apposuit Joh: Mochingerus
Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet, inv./ RP-P-OB-50.569

Willem Hondius after Adolf Boy
Coronation portrait of King John II Casimir Vasa (1609-1672), 1649 (dated)
paper, copper engraving 642 x 445 mm
lower left : Sub te sunt Casimire Patris Fratrisq. Trophoea/ Tuaq. tua juvante parta dextera/Ad latera Alcides stant et Bellona columnae/Animositas atque Fortitudinis
Warszawa, Biblioteka Narodowa, inv./ G.219/Sz.1

Jeremias Falck after Adolf Boy
Portrait of Constantin Ferber (1580-1654), mayor of Gdansk, c. 1658-1663
paper, copper engraving 262 x 188 mm
Warszawa, Biblioteka Narodowa, inv./ G.3057/I

Anoniem Polen 1637
Altar of St. Joseph: The Christ child with St. Joseph (above), Jesus who hands Peter the keys of the gate of heaven (middle) and the calling of Peter (under, predella), 1637
panel, oil paint ? x ? cm
Oliwa (Gdańsk), Archikatedra Oliwska

Andreas Hoffman
Saint Nicholas consecrated bishop of Mira by Christ and the virgin Mary, 1647
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Gdańsk, Kościół św. Mikołaja w Gdańsku


1 [Van Leeuwen 2013] Daniel Block was a painter, not an engraver. It is possible that Gerson confused him with another artist, David van den Blocke (died December 1640), sometimes also called Daniel van den Blocke, a brother of Isaak van den Blocke. David van den Blocke worked in Danzig for a long time (1618-1640) (RKDimages 235200).

2 [Van Leeuwen 2013] Falck fell under the influence of French, Flemish and Dutch artists in Paris, where he stayed between 1639 and 1645, and went to Amsterdam in 1656 after working in Copenhagen (Saur 1992-, vol. 36 (2003), p. 339). It is not certain that he was trained by Cornelis Bloemaert, who left Paris for Rome in 1633.

3 [Van Leeuwen 2013] Loggan went to England after spending seven years in the Netherlands (1656-1663).

4 [Gerson 1941/1983] Van Mander/Floerke 1617/1906, pp. 256-257; Hirschmann 1921, nos. 146-147.

5 [Van Leeuwen 2013] Gerson clearly mixed up Sigismund III (1566-1632) and his son, Prince Ladislaus Sigismund (1595-1648), who ruled as King Ladislaus IV (1632-1648). It was the son who took the trip to the Netherlands in 1624 (Antwerp 1997 and Szmydki 2002).

6 [Van Leeuwen 2013] The painting Gerson mentions is now considered to be an old copy after Soutman, made in Poland around 1642. It is no longer in Schleissheim but in Schloss Neuburg (Barrett 2012, p. 147, no. PC-2).

7 [Van Leeuwen 2013] Kerry Barrett omits a version by or after Soutman in Stockholm (Barrett 2012). The only important portrait with a connection to the Netherlands that depicts Sigismund III and belongs to a Swedish public collection, is an equestrian portrait attributed to Cornelis de Vos in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, which must be the painting Gerson refers to (communication by E.L. Karlsson to S. Erkens, 14 August 2013).

8 [Van Leeuwen 2013] According to Van Thiel-Stroman, Soutman may have been in Poland from 1624 until 1628, or else only for a short visit in October 1628 (Van Thiel-Stroman 2006, p. 305).

9 [Van Leeuwen 2013] In Hofman 1970, p. 89, it is clearly established that Pieter Danckerts was buried in the Westerkerk in Amsterdam on 15 december 1660.

10 [Van Leeuwen 2013] The earliest Polish picture of Danckerts that we could find is a portrait of Kazanowski of 1638, not 1634. We therefore assume that Danckerts moved to Poland between 1634 and 1638. The print (probably) after Danckerts is now considered to be by Falck, not Hondius (RKDimages 230910).

11 [Van Leeuwen 2013] No paintings by Maerten Couwenburch are known to us today.

12 [Van Leeuwen 2013] The frescos in this chapel are no longer considered to be by Danckerts (Saur 1992-, vol. 24 [2000], p. 80). According to J. Tylicki the original frescos were made by Bartholomäus Strobel in 1635-1636, but these were already destroyed during the war with Russia during the 17th century. The now existing frescos date from the reconstruction of the 1690s and were almost certainly done by Michelangelo Palloni of Florence (email J. Tylicki to S. Erkens, 28 August 2013).

13 [Gerson 1942/1983] For example, Auction New York 1932, nos. 24-25.

14 [Gerson 1942/1983] Stopes 1910, pp. 161 and 163. [Van Leeuwen 2013] No trace of such paintings can be found in Poland today (email from J. Tylicki to S. Erkens, 28 March 2013).

15 [Van Leeuwen 2013] Gerson quotes Drost 1938, p. 139 (‘seine Fühlungnahme mit holländischer Kunst’). For an attempt to reconstruct the oeuvre of this rather feeble artists, see Tylicki 2004.

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