Johan IV van Nassau and His Wife Maria van Loon-Heinsberg

Object Details

Title:

Johan IV van Nassau and His Wife Maria van Loon-Heinsberg

Artist/Maker(s):

Bernaert van Orley (Netherlandish, about 1488 - 1541)

Culture:

Flemish

Date:

about 1528 - 1530

Medium:

Pen and brown ink, watercolor over touches of black chalk

Dimensions:

34.9 x 49.1 cm (13 3/4 x 19 5/16 in.)

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Bernaert Van Orley, the preeminent Netherlandish tapestry designer of the early 1500s, conveyed the prestige and wealth of his subjects, Count Johan IV of Nassau and his wife, through a number of devices. They wear ornate costumes and their horses wear lavish festival trappings, evoking the pageantry of the late Middle Ages. The encyclopedic inscription in the cartouche at top, the swag, and the coats of arms immediately communicate this couple's elevated status, while the brilliant watercolor heightens the scene's grandeur. Perhaps in reference to the family's vast domains, Van Orley showed a wide expanse of land, including forests, farmlands, and mountains.

The Netherlands' royal family commissioned this elaborate drawing for a famous series of tapestries, now destroyed. Called the "Nassau Genealogy," they depicted the splendor of the lineage of the House of Orange-Nassau from the 1200s to the 1500s. The drawings themselves were considered such major achievements in Van Orley's career that Karel van Mander mentioned the "very beautiful and richly painted cartoons" in his 1604 biography of the artist.

Provenance

Private Collection (Europe) [sold, Sotheby's, New York, January 10, 1995, lot 153], by descent

Private Dealer (London, England, UK)

Exhibitions
Color in Drawing (March 10 to May 24, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 10 to May 24, 1998
Recent Additions to the Drawings Collection (August 3 to October 1, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 3 to October 1, 1999
Peter Paul Rubens and the Art of Drawing in Flanders (August 29 to October 22, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 29 to October 22, 2000
Made for Manufacture: Drawings for Sculpture and the Decorative Arts (February 6 to May 20, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 6 to May 20, 2007
Made for Manufacture: Drawings for Sculpture and the Decorative Arts (March 31 to July 5, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 31 to July 5, 2009
Drawing in the Age of Rubens (October 14, 2014 to January 11, 2015)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 14, 2014 to January 11, 2015
Related Media
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    Audio: Johan IV van Nassau and his Wife