Nicolaes Maes

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Nicolaes Maes

, artist

Born 1632 - Died 1693

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MAES, NICOLAES (1632-1693), Dutch painter, was born at Dordrecht, and went about 1650 to Amsterdam, where he entered Rembrandt's studio. Before his return to Dordrecht in 1654 Maes painted a few Rembrandtesque genre pictures, with life-size figures and in a deep glowing scheme of color, like the Reverie at the Ryks Museum in Amsterdam, the Card Players at the National Gallery, and the Children with a Goat Carriage, belonging to Baroness N. de Rothschild. So closely did his early style resemble that of Rembrandt, that the last-named picture, and other canvases in the Leipzig and Budapest galleries and in the collection of Lord Radnor, were or are still ascribed to Rembrandt. In his best period, from 1655 to 1665, Maes devoted himself to domestic genre on a smaller scale, retaining to a great extent the magic of color he had learnt from Rembrandt. Only on rare occasions did he treat scriptural subjects, as in the earl of Denbigh's Hagar's Departure, which has been ascribed to Rembrandt. His favorite subjects were women spinning, or reading the Bible, or preparing a meal. In 1665 he went to Antwerp, where he remained till 1678, in which year he probably returned to Amsterdam. His Antwerp period coincides with a complete change in style and subject. He devoted himself almost exclusively to portraiture, and abandoned the intimacy and glowing color harmonies of his earlier work for a careless elegance which suggests the influence of Van Dyck. So great indeed was the change, that it gave rise to the theory of the existence of another Maes, of Brussels. Maes is well represented at the National Gallery by five paintings: The Cradle, The Dutch Housewife, The Idle Servant, The Card Players, and a man's portrait. At Amsterdam, besides the splendid examples to be found at the Ryks Museum, is the Inquisitive Servant of the Six collection. At Buckingham Palace is The Listening Girl (repetitions exist), and at Apsley House Selling Milk and The Listener. Other notable examples are at the Berlin, Brussels, St Petersburg, the Hague, Frankfort, Hanover and Munich galleries.

Source: Entry on the artist in the 1911 Edition Encyclopedia.


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Image courtesy of Don Kurtz