by Jan Mijtens (1613 - 1670)
1660, oil on canvas
Cornelis Maartenszoon Tromp (1629 – 1691) was a Dutch naval officer. He was the son of Lieutenant Admiral Maarten Tromp. He became Lieutenant Admiral General in the Dutch Navy and briefly General admiral in the Danish Navy. He fought in the first three Anglo-Dutch Wars and in the Scanian War.
The present portrait shows Cornelis Tromp in full armour, standing, against the backdrop of a rock and a sweeping view on sea with a fierce battle going on. A large cannon protrudes in the direction of the battle scene. Tromp looks the beholder in the eye and his pose exudes pride and confidence. With his right hand he firmly clasps the commander’s baton. In line with the sitter’s character Mijtens executed the portrait with deft and vigorous strokes of the brush, creating a vibrant image of an energetic man.
As a public figure, Cornelis Tromp’s personality is well documented as being jovial but also arrogant and vain. It is chiefly owing to the latter feature of his character that he had himself portrayed on numerous occasions. In fact, Tromp had himself painted by all prominent portrait painters of his time active in the Dutch Republic but also by some abroad. Mijtens executed no less than four portraits of him, the present included. This portrait of 1660 is the first, while one dates of 1661 and the two others of 1668.
From the 1640s until his death in 1670 Jan Mijtens was the foremost portrait painter in The Hague, working for the aristocracy and the court. He was born into a family which has produced many painters and which was related to other families with artists among their offspring. Artists belonging to the Mijtens dynasty have been active in no less than seven countries through several generations.
Signed and dated lower left: “a o 1660 J Mijtens F”
Provenance: Private European Collection
Size: 113 x 91 cm