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Johanna Martens
Moreelse, Paulus
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Moreelse, Paulus

Utrecht, 1571 - Utrecht, 1638

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Johanna Martens

1625. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

The work is a three-quarter length portrait of Johanna Martens (1599-1639), the wife of Antonie van Hilten (1586-1670) -Secretary of State of Utrecht (1618-1670), dignified by Prince Maurice of Orange- whom she married in 1620. The portrait enters the Museo del Prado as a work of Paulus Moreelse. Díaz Padrón (1995) interprets the initials on the coat of arms as PM and attributes the painting to Nicolaes Eliasz. Pickenoy (1588-1650), which is how it is listed in the Museum`s general inventory. However, the original attribution is again adopted in the catalogue of 1996. The restoration work recently undertaken allows us to confirm that the inscribed initials are PM.

The painting is consonant with the type of representative portrait established by Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt in the 1620s and continued by Moreelse, showing the sitter three-quarter length and wearing sumptuous clothing and jewels, with the body slightly tilted and one hand leaning on a table covered in cloth.

There are two other known versions of this portrait. One is a panel painting (109 x 87 cm) in the former Kowen collection in New York, signed PM and, according to De Jonge, bearing the inscription AETA.26.1625 but no coat of arms, auctioned in 1953 (present location unknown). The other is a painting on canvas from the former Jacob Constantijn Martens van Sevenhoven collection, now at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht. It is unsigned and has no inscription or coat of arms. De Jonge (1938) catalogues it as a replica of the painting in the Kowen collection; Carter (1963) lists it as an original; but Domela (2001) considers it a late copy of the Prado work, executed by Jonson van Ceulen (1593-1661) as pendant to the portrait of the sitter`s husband, Antonie van Hilten, dated 1650, that is, eleven years after Johanna Martens`s demise.

In Domela`s opinion, the painting in the former Kowen collection and that in the Prado may be the same work, with the coat of arms on the Prado painting scratched off during probable restoration work carried out after 1953 in order to reveal the signature and the inscription AETA.26.1625 which in this author`s opinion lay beneath it. However, neither the support nor the measurements coincide, and infrared reflectography shows that the signature and the inscription are painted over the coat of arms. It would therefore appear that the Kowen portrait on panel is the original, and the Prado canvas a replica. The difference between the date inscribed on the Prado portrait and its possible pendant in Rhode Island (1625), see below, and the date (1626, according to De Jonge) inscribed on the painting formerly in the Kowen collection, may be due to an error in transcription.

The portrait in the Museo del Prado has the same support and measurements as the unsigned work in the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, which bears neither an inscription nor a coat of arms. However, the respective X-radiographs reveal that these two works have been executed by different artists: in the Prado portrait the execution is painstaking with an emphasis on draughtsmanship, while in the Utrecht painting it is looser and the lights are more precisely rendered. The Prado painting could be the pendant to the portrait of the sitter`s husband, Antonie van Hilten, signed and dated AETA.26.1625/PM (intertwined`) (Rhode Island Museum of Art, inv. 60.110), which also shows signs of tampering in the area of the coat of arms. As for the crown, micro-sample analysis carried out by the Museo del Prado laboratory reveals the existence of a darkened coat of varnish between the layer of dark grey paint of the original background and the reddish layer of the crown, which may indicate possible later intervention in the area to add the crown (Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, 2009, p. 307).


Technical data

Inventory number
Moreelse, Paulus
Johanna Martens
Height: 122.7 cm; Width: 96.5 cm
Acquisition from Manuel Trallero de Arriba, Barcelona, 1987

Bibliography +

Jonge, Caroline Henriette de, Paulus Moreelse : portret- en genreschilder te Utrecht, 157..., Van Gorcum, Assen, 1938, pp. nº84/ lám.68.

La pintura holandesa del siglo de Oro: la Escuela de Utrecht, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya, Madrid, 1992, pp. 36/ lám.15.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, El siglo de Rubens en el Museo del Prado: catálogo razonado, Prensa Ibérica, Barcelona, 1995, pp. nº30.

Museo del Prado, Últimas adquisiciones: 1982-1995, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1995, pp. 78.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, III, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996.

Luckhardt, Jochen; Büttner, Nils, Der Krieg als Person: Herzog Christian d.J.von Braunschweig-Lüneburg im Bildnis von Paulus Moreelse, Brunswick, 2000, pp. nº64.

Domela Nieuwenhuis, Eric, Paulus Moreelse (1571-1638). Tesis doctoral, Universidad de Leiden, Leiden, 2001, pp. 444-447.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Pintura holandesa: en el Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2009, pp. 91-93.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 2167.
Autor: Moreelse, Paulus / 2167. Título: Retrato de dama / Tipo de obra: pintura / Medidas: 1,227 x 0,965 / Técnica/soporte: óleo sobre lienzo / Nº de catálogo: 7292 / Observaciones: firmado con monograma. Inscripción en escudo de la zona superior izquierda: 'ae ta. 26.1625' / Adquirido por el Estado a D. Manuel Trallero en 4.200.000 pts. mayo 1987. / O. M. 20-V-1987.

Inscriptions +

AETA.26.1625 PM
Signed and dated. Front, upper left corner

[Etiqueta rasgada de la casa Linares]
Scrap of paper. Stretcher

[Sala Parés, Barcelona] Morelse [sic] / Retrato/ Registro E.M.S.A. 10672 febrero 1959
Scrap of paper. Stretcher

1480/ Moreelse/ Portrait de femme [Etiqueta en parte rasgada]
Inscribed in golden colour. Stretcher

Inscribed in yellow. Stretcher

454 / Moreelse/ nK
Inscribed in golden colour. Stretcher

Morelse [sic] / 1480/ Xek
Inscribed in golden colour. Stretcher

[Parches de restauración]
Back, lower area

Nº 7292 [3 veces más]
Inscribed. Stretcher

Exhibitions +

Dutch Painters at the Prado
03.12.2009 - 11.04.2010

Displayed objects +


Update date: 04-11-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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