VERSPRONCK, Jan Cornelisz
(b. ca. 1603, Haarlem, d. 1662, Haarlem)

Portrait of Cornelis Montigny de Glarges

Oil on canvas, 81 x 65 cm
Private collection

This painting portrays Cornelis Montigny de Glarges, aged 43, half-length, in a brown coat and white lace ruff. He came from a wealthy Dutch family, and was educated at the University of Leiden. He was clearly very well connected in Haarlem and Leiden: he maintained an album amicorum from 1622 until 1679 in which friends including the still-life painter Floris van Dyck, and the draughtsman and engraver Jacob Matham, the portraitist David Bailly, as well as poets, historians, scientists and philosophers such as Jacob Cats, Samuel Ampzing, Theodor Schrevelius, Constantijn and Christiaan Huygens and René Descartes inscribed poems, drawings and messages of goodwill.

Several of these friends of Montigny de Glarges also sat to Frans Hals, but while the pose of the present sitter reminds us of Hals, it is actually more extreme than in any of Hals' portraits, with the sitter's shoulder cocked elbow pointing straight out at the viewer, while his face is almost full-frontal. Although Verspronck was certainly influenced by his older townsman, his technique is entirely different and much more restrained, and his lighting more complex and theatrical.