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Jacob Houbraken (Dordrecht 1698-1780 Amsterdam)

Portrait of Cornelis Troost, after Cornelis Troost

with number ‘2140.’ and inscribed ‘C. Troost’ (verso)
37.4 x 26.8 cm (plate); 40.4 x 29.2 cm (sheet)
FM 5473b[1]; Ver Huell 418[2] , first state (of two), proof impression before the letter, a very good impression with margins, in good condition

‘s Rijks Prentenkabinet, Amsterdam (L. 240).
‘s Rijks Prentenkabinet, Amsterdam (L. 789a).
Private Collection, The Netherlands.

In this particularly fine and animated portrait engraving, Houbraken presents us with the portrait of Cornelis Troost on an easel, surrounded by attributes from an artist’s studio. Leaning against the easel are a maulstick with a laurel wreath, a drawings folder and a palette. Furthermore, there are loose drawings, a plaster after an Antique bust and drawing tools scattered on the floor. These attributes do justice to Cornelis Troost who was, after all, one of the most versatile artists of his time. Generally considered the leading artist of his time, Troost excelled in drawing, printmaking, pastel and painting. His love for acting – he was an actor until his 28th year – is furthermore attested by the painting in the background propped against a pillar. The small framed picture, or possibly pastel, shows a scene from Thomas Asselijn's comdey 'Jan Claasz of de gewaande dienstmaagd' wherein Reinier Adriaansz declares his love for Saartje Jansz, which Troost also depicted in a mezzotint in reverse.[3]
Troost was also a prolific portrait painter and the portrait shown in this engraving was also from his hand. The original is now lost[4] , but Troost’s authorship is revealed in the second state of the engraving as the artist is credited as its inventor. A drawing by Jacobus Buys with the exact same composition as the present drawing, in reverse and incised, must have served as the preparatory drawing for the engraving (even though Buys is not credited as the inventor on the print).[5]

[1] F. Muller, Beschrijvende catalogus van 7000 Portretten van Nederlanders […], Amsterdam, 1853, p. 261.
[2] A. Ver Huell, 'Jacobus Houbraken et son oeuvre, Arnhem, 1875, p. 78.
[3] see for an impression Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. RP-P-OB-17.375.
[4] J.W. Niemeijer, 'Cornelis Troost. 1696-1750', Assen, 1973, no. 3 S, p. 156.
[5] Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. RP-T-1894-A-3008.

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