Jan Anthonisz. Van RavesteynNetherlands 1572-1657
Portrait of a Lady 45.0343
The unknown sitter for this portrait by Van Ravesteyn (pronunciation) is aristocratic and very wealthy, as indicated by the amount of lace edge on her ruff and the miniature portrait pinned to her dress. Even more than painters of other kinds of subject matter, portraitists were constrained to produce an exact likeness. Adhering to conventional styles and traditional formats, portraitists such as Van Ravesteyn from The Hague ran large studios that employed many assistants. Portrait workshops often became studios of mass production, in which an artist's assistants could execute numerous copies from a master portrait of a prominent citizen. Even the original portrait might contain areas that were finished by others in the workshop. Van Ravesteyn belonged to a large family of artists from The Hague especially favored by the court of the Stadhouder (literally "Citykeeper," the ruler in place of the king). His brothers Anthonis and Arnold were also portrait painters in The Hague during this time. Jan was one of the upper class' most prominent portraitists, learning his trade in Delft under Michiel van Mierevelt. He specialized in displaying his sitters' external signs of rank rather than their inner reflections.
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