Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Maes, Nicolaes

Portrait of a Boy as Adonis
c. 1670
Oil on canvas
73 x 63 cm
Akademie der bildenden Kunste, Vienna

Nicolaes Maes, also known as Nicolaes Maas (1634 - 1693) was a Dutch Golden Age painter of genre and portraits. He was the son of a prosperous merchant.

In about 1648 he became a pupil of Rembrandt in Amsterdam, staying there until 1654 when he returned to his native town Dordrecht. In his early years he concentrated on genre pictures, rather sentimental in approach, but distinguished by deep glowing colors he had learnt from his master. Old women sleeping, praying, or reading the Bible were subjects he particularly favoured. So closely did his style resemble that of Rembrandt, some paintings were ascribed to Rembrandt.

In the 1660s, however, Maes began to turn more to portraiture, and after a visit to Antwerp around the middle of the decade his style changed dramatically. He abandoned the reddish tone of his earlier manner for a wider, lighter and cooler range (grays and blacks in the shadows instead of brownish tones), and the fashionable portraits he now specialized in were closer to van Dyck than to Rembrandt. So great indeed was the change, that it gave rise to the theory of the existence of another Maes, of Brussels.
In 1673 he moved permanently to Amsterdam and had great success with this kind of picture. Maes was a fairly prolific painter.