MIEREVELD, Michiel Jansz. van
(b. 1567, Delft, d. 1641, Delft)

Prince Maurits, Stadhouder

Oil on panel, 220 x 140 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

In the first decades of the 17th century we find centres of portraiture at Delft and The Hague where at various times the stadhouder had his court, the States-General its seat, and most foreign diplomats resided. Michiel Jansz. van Miereveld and his pupil Jan Anthonisz van Ravensteyn (c. 1572-1657) are the outstanding names. Both artists inspired a host of minor painters. Their portraits are restrained, rather dry visual reports, competent in draughtsmanship and with only a moderate decorative effect. Costumes, armour, and faces are rendered with the same meticulous care and reliability. Miereveld was, it seems, prepared to make some adjustments in the features of a countenance to satisfy a foreign client. Miereveld enjoyed a greater reputation - particularly among court circles in The Hague - and he kept a workshop busy making portraits of members of the house of Orange-Nassau and other noble families.

Maurits is represented in the gilded suit of armour the States-General had given him for his military victory at Nieuwpoort in 1600. The portrait thus makes claims for the Stadhouder's indispensability to the States-General and the Republic. Van Miereveld's studio produced numerous paintings of the prince.