PIETER HOLSTEIJN THE YOUNGER
ca. 1614 – Haarlem – 1673
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A Portrait of a Lady (after GIULIO ROMANO)
engraving; 410 x 313 mm (16 1/8 x 12 5/16 inches)
Hollstein 9 first state (of two)
Rijksprentenkabinett, Amsterdam (with their earliest mar, Lugt 240, introduced by Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland, during the years 1806-10; also with their duplicate stamp Lugt 2166)
Anne-Marie S. Logan, The "Cabinet" of the Brothers Gerard and Jan Reynst, Amsterdam/Oxford/New York 1975, pp. 38-45; this print listed as no. 12
This is a fine, early impression before the artists’ names; in excellent condition with small margins all round.
The painting by Giulio Romano is now in the English Royal Collection. The sitter had since Mariette been identified as Isabella d’Este. However, the woman hardly resembles her and the painting itself does not have any documented Mantuan provenance. Furthermore, Isabella was short of money at the time when the portrait is likely to have been painted (soon after Giulio’s arrival in Mantua in October 1524) and may not have been able to afford such rich apparel. In her entry on the painting in the exhibition catalogue Splendours of the Gonzaga (London 1981–82), Jane Martineau argues that the lady can more plausibly be identified as either Federico Gonzaga’s mistress Isabella Boschetti or, even more likely Federico’s wife Margherita Paleologo. As Martineau points out, the remarkable dress of the sitter, the decorous rosary and the turban (schuffa) are all referred to in a description of Margherita given in a letter to Duke Federico just prior to their marriage in October 1531.
The painting belonged to the Dutch merchants Gerrit and Jan Reynst. Their collection was dispersed beginning in 1660 after the death of both brothers. In the first sale the best pieces (24 paintings and 12 sculptures) were bought by the Dutch Republic for the large amount of 80,000 guilders. They then formed the “Dutch Gift” sent by the Republic to King Charles II. of England. Ten of these paintings, this one among them, remain in the Royal Collection to this day.
The print was part of the series Variarum imaginum a celeberrimis artificibus pictarum Caelaturae which Gerrit Reynst had commissioned in 1655. Beside Pieter Holsteijn he entrusted the task of engraving the plates to Cornelis II van Dalen, Jeremias Falck, Cornelis Holsteijn, Jan Lutma, and Theodoor Matham. However, the series remained incomplete when Reynst died in 1658 but was eventually published by his widow in Amsterdam between 1660 and 1671.