WIERINGA, Willems Harmen
(b. ca. 1590, Wier, d. ca. 1650)


Dutch painter. He was a portraitist who lived and worked in the northwestern part of the Dutch Republic, in Friesland. He was active in Leeuwarden, his stay is documented between 1639 and 1644, when he is recorded as an advisor to the local Frisian government, recommending designs for buildings and also for ceremonial carriages.

He was strongly influenced by the most important portrait painter of the region, Wybrand de Geest (1592-1661/65), who was active as court painter of three Frisian Stadtholders in their capital Leeuwarden between 1621 and his death. He was married with Margaretha van Tongeren. The couple had four children. One of them, Nicolaas (1624/26-1681), was a pupil of his father; he painted portraits and also religious and mythological subjects. Both father and son Nicolaas were for many years appointed by the province of Friesland for non artistic paint jobs, they actually had to paint buildings. Their function was called 'landscape painter' ('landschapsschilder' or 'schilder van het landschap').

It should be mentioned that to differentiate him from his son, Nicolaas Wieringa, this painter is sometimes simply called 'Harmen Willems', the name he actually signed some of his paintings with. 'Willems' is thus his last name and not to be confused with the common second first name 'Willemsz.' that would stand for 'Willemszoon', 'son of Willems'. "Wieringa" refers to Harmen Willems' birthplace, a small village called Wier, 15 km NW from Leeuwarden.

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