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Portrait of Margaretha
Nov 25, '21

2015: Portretten van Margaretha de Vlamingh van Oudtshoorn en haar echtgenoot dr. Nicolaes Tulp

Meta Henneke

2015: Portraits of Margaretha de Vlamingh van Oudtshoorn and her husband Dr Nicolaes Tulp

By Meta Henneke

Years ago I wrote a contribution about the history of the Oudshoorn church for the bundle de kerk van Oudshoorn. Visiting an exhibition of portraits of the of the relatively unknown Johannes Thopas therefore immediately noticed the portrait of an elderly lady by the name of Margaretha de Vlamingh van Oudtshoorn (1598-1678).

Next to it hung the pendant portrait of her husband, the famous Amsterdam physician Nicolaes Tulp (1593-1674). We know him from Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson (Mauritshuis, 1632).

A Closer Look

Let's take a closer look at these finely drawn, colorful portraits. When the artist depicted them 'from life' in about 1660, the man and woman were already over sixty.

Fig. 1: Nicolaes Tulip (1593-1674).

He is depicted with gray, curly hair. It must be one of the last portraits that Dr. Tulp made in the course of his career as a physician and administrator of the city of Amsterdam.

Fig. 2: Margaretha de Vlamingh van Oudtshoorn (1598-1678)

His wife looks at us with a barely perceptible smile.

In her right hand she holds a pair of gloves. It is a regularly occurring attribute in Dutch portraiture, which here probably symbolizes marriage or marital fidelity. In the seventeenth century, gloves played an important role in all kinds of politeness rituals and in family arms and other references to one's own social status. After all, that's how people liked to be remembered by posterity who would have the portraits on their walls to hang. The Tulp couple had themselves depicted in a room with a window that provides a view of Amsterdam's city hall and the Nieuwe Kerk. The brand new town hall - officially inaugurated in 1655, but completed in 1665 - was a source of pride for the people of Amsterdam and a fitting symbol for a man like Dr Tulp who was also involved as mayor.

Behind his wife, a corner of the town hall and part of the Nieuwe Kerk can be seen, with the Mozes and Aäronsteeg in between. Perhaps a reference to the

subordinate the position of the state in relation to the church? Didn't have the famous Pastor Johannes Wttenbogaert (1577-1644) argued that in the Old Testament Moses, the political leader, was subordinate to his brother Aaron, the high priest? Or perhaps the presence of both

dr. Tulip looks away from us. Attitude and facial expression of this couple are subdued and their sober clothing was considered appropriate at the time in compared with the love etiquette. Compared to portraits of more exuberant contemporaries, the hand conservative Calvinist circles. shoes, the pair of earrings with a pearl from Margaret and the fur-trimmed tabard from her husband, modest signs of their wealth.

Typical of many seventeenth-century portraits of married couples is that they allow themselves to be 'immortalized' with


Nov 25, '21
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