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Portrait of Margaretha van Raephorst (1625–1690) (work of art)

Artwork Info

Created
1646
Nationality
Dutch
Birth/Death
1615-1660
Dimensions
49 1/8 × 37 inches (124.8 × 94 centimeters)

Credit

Purchased with funds from the State of North Carolina

Object Number
58.4.3
Culture
Dutch
Classification
Paintings
Department
European to 1910

Key Ideas about this Work of Art

  • This painting is part of a pair of wedding portraits of a wife and husband. A portrait is a representation of a particular person. This is a portrait of a Dutch woman named Margaretha van Raephorst. Her husband is portrayed in the other portrait, titled Portrait of Jan van Hellemont (1616–1665)
  • In the 17th century, the Dutch middle class often had their portraits painted as a way to display their success and power. Portrait pairs were created when a couple married.
  • This painting displays the woman’s wealth. It shows her wearing silk fabrics and lace, as well as several pieces of jewelry. Her jewelry is made up of pearls, gold, and diamonds. The diamonds would have been imported from another country and considered to be a luxury good.
  • Govaert Flinck was a Dutch painter in the 17th century, in what is known as the Dutch Golden Age. Many new developments in the arts and sciences happened in the Netherlands during that time. 
  • Flinck was a student of Rembrandt, and his painting style was similar to that of his teacher. Some paintings Flinck created were mistaken for Rembrandt’s work.

Learn More

This oil painting is part of a portrait pair that was created when a Dutch couple married in 1646. The pair of portraits was intended to show off their newly combined wealth and power. Portraits like these were a way for the thriving 17th-century Dutch middle class to present a successful image of themselves to the world. 

The subject of this portrait, Margaretha van Raephorst, is wearing what would have been the height of fashion when the painting was created. Most Dutch portraits from this time period depicted people dressed in black. Fashion started to become more extravagant and colorful around 1650. The luxurious fabric and delicate lace the woman is wearing indicates her wealth. Her jewelry puts an even greater emphasis on imported luxury. She wears several strands of small pearls on each wrist, a pearl necklace, a pearl-and-gold pendant, a large diamond brooch, and a diamond bracelet and ring. In the companion piece to this painting, Margaretha’s husband (Jan van Hellemont) is shown wearing fine lace and a cape with gold embroidery and a velvet lining. The couple’s ability to have their portraits painted by a well-known artist is also a sign of wealth. 

Govaert Flinck was a Dutch Golden Age painter. During the Dutch Golden Age, Dutch trade, science, and art were among the best in the world. Dutch colonization and trade brought wealth and power to the Netherlands. Flinck is known for creating Baroque paintings that include realistic-looking portraits and genre scenes of everyday life. He studied painting under Rembrandt van Rijn, who was also a Dutch Golden Age painter. Their styles were so similar that Flinck’s early paintings were sometimes confused with Rembrandt’s paintings.

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Images

  • An oil painting of a woman standing behind a stone railing. She is holding a white feather in her right hand. Behind her is a landscape of trees and sky that is halfway covered by a red curtain. The woman has pale skin and curly, shoulder-length red hair. She is wearing multiple pieces of jewelry and a blue dress that is decorated with silver and brown embroidery. The dress has a white lace collar and sleeve cuffs.

    Portrait of Margaretha van Raephorst (1625–1690)