Johannes Colaert

Netherlands 1621-cs. 1678
Portrait of a Young Man 25.0053

The sitter's identity is a mystery. However, he is dressed in clothing that is easily dated to the 1660s. The young man conveys an attitude of studied nonchalance and elegance, carrying expensive soft leather gloves, and having unbuttoned his doublet to let a slash of white shirt peak through. The seal on the documents in the foreground has been abraded, but would have provided many clues as to the sitter's identity-and perhaps that of the artist as well. The artist's signature can be found in the lower right-hand corner of the painting. Various artists with the same last name, but spelled "Collaert", (Collart) appear in the standard references. Two were Amsterdam artists, both born in the 1620s, who went by the name Johannes Collaert. One of these was a landscape painter; the other, it is believed, painted two works formerly in the church of St. Francis Xavier in Amsterdam, one of them signed "J. Colaert". Also, the well-known Dutch engraver Hendrik Bary (c. 1632-1707) is known to have engraved a portrait (now lost) by J. Colaert of a lawyer from Utrecht, Gerhardus à Wassennaer. With its absence of decorative accessories, and in its straightforward presentation, it bears a strong resemblance to this portrait. It is possible that the artist Johannes Collaert adopted the name "Joquime" after a trip to Italy or Spain. Such name-changing was not unprecedented. Many northern artists Italianized their names after extended visits to Italy to draw attention to their success there. Indeed, spelling was not standardized until much later.




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