Nicolaes Maes - Rembrandt’s Versatile Pupil
17 October 2019 - 19 January 2020
We conclude the Rembrandt & the Golden Age year with the first international retrospective exhibition about one of Rembrandt's most talented students: Nicolaes Maes.
Source of inspiration for De Hooch and Vermeer
With his original representations of everyday life, Nicolaes Maes was one of the most innovative painters of the Dutch Golden Age. His domestic scenes have been a source of inspiration for painters such as Pieter de Hooch and Johannes Vermeer. In his lifelike representation of emotions, Maes shows himself to be a fully-fledged student of Rembrandt.
Nicolaes Maes, The Old Lacemaker, c. 1655. Mauritshuis
Maes began his career by painting Biblical stories, in which the influence of his teacher is clearly visible. Rembrandt was a dedicated teacher who challenged his pupils to be inventive and come up with new things. Maes was inspired by his teacher, but at the same time always looked for his own, new solutions. This can be clearly seen in The sacrifice of Isaac(c. 1653). Maes gave this Biblical theme an explosive charge.
Nicolaes Maes, The Sacrifice of Isaac, c. 1653. Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston
In the following years, Maes painted intimate scenes with women engaged in their household duties. The eavesdroppers are a favourite; representations of how the lady of the house catches her maid with a lover. Roguishly and conspiratorially, the woman looks at us; with her finger on her lips she draws the attention of the viewer and calls for silence. Some beautiful 'eavesdroppers' will be on loan from the Dordrechts Museum, the Guildhall Art Gallery and the Wellington Museum (both London).
Nicolaes Maes, The Eavesdropper, c. 1656. Wellington Museum, Apsley House, Londen
The big success
Maes achieved his greatest success, artistically and financially, during his life as a portrait painter. His clients are dressed luxuriously, or even represented in fantasy costumes, and are placed standing in park-like landscapes with antique structures and fountains. The portraits of a girl with deer and her brother as a hunter (1671) shine for their colour and elegance.
Nicolaes Maes, Portrait of a Girl with a Deer and Portrait of a Boy as a Hunter, 1671. Private Collection
Nicolaes Maes - Rembrandt’s Versatile Pupil will be on view from 17 October at the Mauritshuis
This exhibition is organised by the Mauritshuis, The Hague and the National Gallery, London and will be on view at the National Gallery from 22 February through 31 May 2020.
This exhibition is realised in part due to the generous support of the Friends of the Mauritshuis Foundation, Nationale-Nederlanden, part of NN Group, the Dutch Masters Foundation and the Prins Bernhard Culture Fund.