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The Painter's Family
Jordaens, Jacques
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Jordaens, Jacques

Antwerp, 1593 - Antwerp, 1678

Jordaens, Jacques See author's file

The Painter's Family

1621 - 1622. Oil on canvas.
Room 016B

This attractive group portrait, one of the most interesting of the 17th-century Dutch school on account of its bourgeois spirit with aristocratic leanings, is an extraordinary skilful depiction of the artist´s close family. Jordaens portrays himself with his wife Catharina van Noort and their first child Elizabeth, born on 26 June 1617, whose age allows us to date the work approximately. Catharina sits sturdily on an armchair; she is easily recognisable for her slightly almond-shaped eyes, prominent nose and fleshy, slightly drooping lower lip. Their daughter -dressed in popular style in accordance with her age, with a coral necklace from which hangs a cross and a basket of flowers in her right hand- is charmingly depicted, with an appealingly childlike expression; indeed, she sat for her multifaceted father on various occasions. Jordaens is personified by a dashing man standing upright, with his right hand and foot leaning on another armchair, the former on the back and the latter on the lower crosspiece, while his left hand holds a lute. It is not known whether he played musical instruments, though it would not have been unusual in a man so devoted to the arts and linked to a cultivated society. However, this object may also be a symbol of family harmony. The couple are elegantly dressed in black, not without a certain amount of ostentation, and display spectacular white ruffs, the wife´s larger and Jordaens´ more discreet. They both sport lace cuffs and Catharina´s dress has an embroidered bodice. She wears a small turban in the form of a bonnet, an elaborate jewel in her hair and earrings in her ears. Apart from their little daughter, the couple is accompanied by another woman, probably a servant to judge by her attire and position in the centre of the composition behind her master and mistress, set back from the foreground. Her clothing, richer in colour, contrasts with the sober distinction of theirs. She holds a basket of grapes, her head is framed by a high lace collar and she wears a high-crowned hat. This distinctive group is surrounded by a garden in which a few features stand out, though on the whole the setting is subordinate to the overall effect, without any predominant details. This has led art historians to believe that the painting belongs to a long tradition dating back to the medieval period of including the protagonists in a typical jardin d´amour. Rubens brought this socio-aesthetic custom to culmination in works such as the Garden of Love (P1690) and the tradition attained its height of development thanks to the 18th-century lyrical taste of Watteau (1684-1721) and his brilliant fetes galantes. The intertwining grapevines behind the couple are related to the idea of the indissolubility of the matrimonial link established by man and woman. Other great masters who employed this delightful allegory are Rubens and Frans Hals: the Flemish artist in his Self Portrait with Isabella Brandt, painted in 1609 or 1610 (Alte Pinakothek, Munich), and the Dutchman in the Portrait of Isaac Messa and Betriz van Laen, executed in 1622 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam). These and many other examples suggest that the formula was frequently employed in painting of the period. A fountain in the form of Cupid mounted on a dolphin can be seen in the upper left corner. This was a feature of the gardens of love and Cupid, the son of Venus, the goddess who was born of sea foam, is identified with Love itself. The parrot behind them, a motif found in a few works by Rubens and by Jordaens himself, may have various meanings, though here it is identified with the virtue of marital faithfulness. The fruit that the little Elizabeth holds in her left hand is also a symbol of love, just as the flowers in her basket represent innocence and purity. Lastly, the dog peering out from behind the artist´s legs, the faithful animal par excellence, alludes to faithfulness as the basis of the close union that all spouses should preserve throughout their existence (Text drawn from Luna, J. J.: From Titian to Goya. Great Masters of the Museo del Prado, National Art Museum of China-Shanghai Museum, 2007, p. 371).

Technical data

Related artworks

Museo del Prado, sala de la reina Isabel II
Gelatin / Collodion on photographic paper, Ca. 1899
Laurent y Minier, Juan
Inventory number
Jordaens, Jacques
The Painter's Family
1621 - 1622
Height: 181 cm; Width: 187 cm
Royal Collection (Collection of Felipe V, Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia, 1727; Collection of Felipe V, La Granja Palace, "dormitorio de sus majestades", 1746, no. 439; Royal Palace of Aranjuez, Madrid, "pieza de la misa", 1794, no. 439; Aranjuez Palace, "cuarta pieza del cuarto del príncipe", 1818, no. 439).

Bibliography +

Wauters, A-J, La peinture Flamande, A.Quantin, Paris, 1883, pp. 259.

Hymans, H, 'Notice Jordaens'. Biographie Nationale. vol X, Bruxelles, 1888-1889, pp. col.515.

Lefort, Paul, Les Musées de Madrid. Le Prado, San Fernando, L'Armeria, Gazette des Beaux Arts, Paris, 1896, pp. 120.

Fierens-Gevaert, Jordaens. Biographie critique, Renouard-H.Laurens, Paris, 1905, pp. 89.

Oldenburg, R., Die Flamischemalerei des XVII jahrhunderts, Georg Reimir, Berlin, 1918, pp. 111.

Gluck, S., Self-portraits by Van Dyck and Jordaens, The Burlington magazine, 64/65, 1934.

Held, Julius., Jordaens' portraits of his family, The Metropolitan Museum of Art bulletin, 35, 1940, pp. 74, 78-79.

Puyvelde, L. van, Jordaens, Paris. Bruxelles, 1953, pp. 117-118.

Lassaigne, Jacques, La Peinture Flamande. De Jerome Bosch a Rubens, Albert Skira, Ginebra, 1958, pp. 173.

Tüngel, Richard, 400 Jahre Kunst, Kultur, und Geschichte im Prado, Schweizer Verlagshaus, Zurich, 1964, pp. 125.

Bernt, Walther, The Netherlandish painters of the seventeenth century, II, Phaidon, Nueva York-Londres, 1970.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972, pp. 333.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de pinturas. Escuela flamenca, Museo del Prado; Patrimonio Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1975, pp. 165.

Lassaigne, Jacques, La Grande Histoire de la Peinture. Vol. I. L'Europe Gothique, Skira, Ginebra, 1979, pp. 24.

Thiel, Erika, Geschichte des Kostums. Die Europaische Mode Von Den Aufange, Henschelverlag, Berlin, 1980, pp. 217/ lám.382.

Hulst, R. A. d'., Jacob Jordaens, Sotheby, Antwerpen, 1982, pp. 89,266-270, 316.

Hulst, R. A. d'., Jacob Jordaens, Sotheby, Londres, 1982, pp. 22,89,268-70 / lám.234.

Held, Julius S., Rubens and his circle, Princeton University Press, Princenton, 1982, pp. 9/ lám.2.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, La Escuela Flamenca del Siglo XVII, Ediciones Alfiz, Madrid, 1983, pp. 99.

Tiss, Rutger J., P. P. Rubens en J. Jordaens Barok in Eigen Huis, Stichting MercatorPlantija, Amberes, 1983, pp. 282.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 343-344.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. nº1571.

Schneider, N., Portratmalerei. Hauptwerke Europaischer Bildniskunst. 1420-1, Benedikt Taschen Verlag, Colonia, 1992, pp. 143.

Jacob Jordaens, 1593-1678, Gemeentekrediet, Antwerp, 1993, pp. 118 A.30.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Barcelona, 1994, pp. 430.

Sebastian, Santiago, Emblemática e historia del arte, Cátedra, Madrid, 1995, pp. 177.

Ayala Mallory, Nina, La pintura flamenca del siglo XVII, Alianza editorial, Madrid, 1995, pp. 222/ lám.195.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, El siglo de Rubens en el Museo del Prado: catálogo razonado, II, Prensa Ibérica, Barcelona, 1996, pp. 628-630.

Benito Olmos, Aurora, Arte y música en el Museo del Prado, Fundación Argentaria Visor, Madrid, 1997, pp. 158.

Vlieghe, Hans, Flemish Art and Architecture 1585-1700, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1998, pp. 126/ lám.162.

Castillo-Ojugas, Antonio, Una visita médica al Museo del Prado, You & Us, Madrid, 1998, pp. 88.

Muller, Priscilla E., La Cultura Ceñida : las Joyas en la Pintura Valenciana, Sigl, Generalitat, Valencia, 2000, pp. 40/ lám.16.

Aterido Fernández, Ángel; Martínez Cuesta, Juan; Pérez Preciado, José Juan, Colecciones de pinturas de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio. Inventarios Reales, II, Fundación de Apoyo de la Historia del Arte Hispánico, Madrid, 2004, pp. 417.

Bond, Anthony Woodall, J. et al., Self Portrait. Renaissance to Contemporary, National Portrait Gallery, Londres, 2005-2006, pp. n.8.

De Tiziano a Goya: grandes maestros del Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado - SEACEX, Madrid, 2007, pp. 255, n.36.

Jordaens: the making of a masterpiece, Statens museum for kunst, 2008, pp. 51.

Merle du Bourg, Alexis, Jaques Jordaens. Autoportrait de l'artiste avec sa femme Catharina van Noort, leur fille Elisabeth et une servante dans un jardin'. En:, Jordaens 1593-1678, Paris-Musées, Paris, 2013, pp. 70-71 n.I-03.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, Jacob Jordaens y España, Epiarte, Instituto Moll., Madrid, 2018, pp. 332-337 n.54.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, Jacob Jordaens and Spain, Epiarte: Instituto Moll,, 2019, pp. N.54 p.356-359.

Rooses, Max, Jordaens. S. VIe et Ses Oeuvres, Ernest Flammarion, Paris, pp. 54, 56.

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1410.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 1549.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 1549.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1571.
Jordaens / 1571. Familia particular. / Compuesta de un caballero, una señora con una niña a su lado, y una hortelana que les trae uvas en un canastillo, todos formando grupo en una especie de cenador. Detrás de la señora, que esta sentada, en un sillón, hay una fuente con un cupido de mármol sobre un delfín. Alto 6 pies, 6 pulg; ancho 6 pies, 8 pulg, 6 lin.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 1571.

Inv. Fernando VII, Aranjuez, 1814-1818. Núm. 439.
QUARTO DEL PRINCIPE [...] Quarta Pieza [...] {21028} 439 / 2 varas y media en quadro una mujer sentada y una niña a su lado con cesta en la mano y un hombre en pie con bandurria en la mano = Guarduns

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, 1746. Núm. 439.
Una Pintura original en Lienzo, de mano de Giarduns, qe representa quatro Figuras; dos Mugeres; una Niña, y la otra un Hombre en pie con Vandola en la mano, y un Perro à los Pies. Tiene dos varas, y tres dedos de alto; otras dos, y ocho de ancho. Marco dorado liso...1

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Aranjuez, 1794. Núm. 439.
Pieza de la Misa [...] {448} 439 / Seis pies y 10 dedos de largo y seis y quarto de alto: quatro figuras dos de muger, la una sentada con una niña, otra en pie con una Cesta de hubas y un hombre con una Vandola...6000

Inscriptions +

Cross of Burgundy or Cross of Saint Andrew, collection’s mark belonging to Felipe V. Front, lower right corner

Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

[Exposición sin confirmar] A History of Spain. Treasures of the Museo del Prado. From El Greco to Goya.
01.01.2023 - 01.01.2023

Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678)
18.09.2013 - 19.01.2014

From Titian to Goya. Great Masters from the Museo del Prado
13.09.2007 - 12.11.2007

From Titian to Goya. Great Masters from the Museo del Prado
29.06.2007 - 24.08.2007

Self Portraits: Renaissance to Contemporary
17.02.2006 - 14.05.2006

Self Portraits: Renaissance to Contemporary
20.10.2005 - 29.01.2006

Jacopo Jordaens
27.03.1993 - 27.06.1993

Location +

Room 016B (On Display)


Displayed objects +


Lute: Figura masculina vestida de azul con laúd, cordófono pulsado, visto de perfil. Tiene caja de resonancia piriforme de fondo convexo y construída por el ensamblaje de numerosas “costillas” o láminas finas de madera, generalmente de arce o fresno, pegadas entre sí. Mástil corto y ancho, con clavijero que se dobla en ángulo recto. Tiene cuatro órdenes de cuerdas (Proyecto Iconografía Musical UCM) El laúd evoluciona a partir de su ancestro directo, el “ud”, original de Medio Oriente que aparece en Occidente en los siglos IX y X. Floreció en toda Europa desde el medioevo al siglo XVIII.
A mediados del siglo XVII el laúd era uno de los instrumentos más apreciados en Europa para la música doméstica como aparece aquí representado y especialmente en Centro Europa.

Chair / Armchair


Sculpture: Cupido cabalgando sobre un delfín

Update date: 01-01-2023 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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