Achter het masker van de Muiderkring. Een nieuw portret voor Roemer Visscher (1547-1620)

L. van Deinsen

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The authenticity of the portrait of the Amsterdam poet Roemer Pieterszoon Visscher (1547-1620)-depicted as an old man with a beard and distinctive hat-has been a subject of debate ever since it was printed in Jacobus Scheltema's Anna en Maria Tesselschade, de dochters van Roemer Visscher (1808).Although the portrait formed the basis for the likeness of Roemer Visscher in popular nineteenth-century depictions of the mythical Muiderkring,its accuracy was quickly put into question.In 1887, the matter resulted in a heated argument between Joseph Alberdingk Thijm (1820-1889) and Nicolaas de Roever (1850-1893) in the journal De Amsterdammer. The latter suspected that the iconic portrait was one of many historical falsifications of Jan Stolker (1724-1785) and was thereafter falsely incorporated into contemporary images that featured literary and intellectual frontrunners of the nation's Golden Age. According to De Roever,a far more likely representation of the seventeenth-century poet and his coat of arms was included on the militia piece Schutters van de compagnie van kapitein Egbert Vinck (1586).Unfortunately,the painting was lost and the composition survived only through a drawing by Jacob Colijn from almost a century later.By that time only a sketchy en profil portrait of Roemer Visscher was available. Due to a lack of conclusive evidence, the dispute eventually ended in an impasse.Although later research supported De Roever's suspicions and rejected the well-known portrait of Roemer Visscher as an accurate likeness, knowledge about the real portrait of the popular poet was still limited. However,a long lost early eighteenth-century portrait by Arnoud van Halen (1683-1732) sheds new light on the subject matter. The small oval painting was part of the so-called Panpoëticon Batavûm,an eighteenth-century collection of author's portraits placed in a wooden cabinet,which features the highlights of Dutch literary and intellectual history. By presenting this portrait of Roemer Visscher,we can now,for the first time, connect the face with the words of one of the leading early modern Dutch poets.

Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)37-56
Number of pages20
Issue number1
Early online date21 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

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