Bartolomeus van der Helst (1613 - 1670)
- Jochem van Aras with his Wife and Daughter
- Oil on canvas
- Image size: 169.5 x 197.2 cm
Object size: 210 x 235 x 16 cm
- Signature: 'Van der.helst.ft. / 1654.'
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- In this lively portrait, signed and dated 1654, Bartholomeus van der Helst
painted Jochem van Aras, a well-to-do baker and merchant from Amsterdam,
with his wife Elisabeth Claes Loenen and daughter Maria van Aras. The painting celebrates the wealth of the couple in their fine clothes, while a glimpse of what is probably their country house and estate (near Haarlem) is visible in the landscape on the right.
The hare the woman proudly displays not only celebrates her husband’s
hunting prowess, but is a reference to the extension of the right to hunt,
until recently the exclusive privilege of the aristocracy, to the wealthy middle
classes. Painted during the period when Van der Helst’s reputation as a portrait painter eclipsed that of Rembrandt, the picture exhibits the well modelled figures, careful attention to character and costume, smooth finish and clear colour which made him such a favoured artist of the prosperous elite in Amsterdam and surrounding towns. The dogs and fruit are traditionally attributed to Jan Baptist Weenix.
The painting was acquired by the 4th Marquess of Hertford in 1862.