Dutch Male Specimen
34 H x 28 W x 3.5 D inches
Drag to view
Drag to view
Michael reimagined the above portrait of Jochem Swartenhont. If there is a more badass Dutch person in the entirety of history, we haven't met him. Swartenhont started his career on the merchant fleet, becoming a cabin boy at age eleven. He soon attained the rank of first mate. Later, he joined the army to fight against the Dunkirkers, but in 1587 he was captured and forced to serve on the Habsburg galleys in Flanders; he managed to escape, however, and brought with him important intelligence about the Spanish Armada of 1588. He quickly climbed the ranks until he became Vice-Admiral in 1605.
After Jochem's impressive naval career, he found his country experiencing meteoric economic growth. Dutch trade in this period had reached its pinnacle; it came to completely dominate that of competing powers, like England, which had only a few years previously profited greatly from the handicap that Spanish embargoes posed to the Dutch. This helped the Dutch economy achieve the highest standard of living in Europe. Jochem, seeing this and being a popular, decorated, Dutch socialite, opened a bar called "the Prince of Orange" and catered to the elite aristocrats and merchants of the day.
All of this history and culture comes together perfectly in this portrait by Michael. Like usual, from afar we see the portrait of Jochem Swartenhont originally painted by Nicolaes Pickenoy...But upon closer inspection, we see that the character is actually made up of this rich tapestry of information about the culture and history of this man. Among many other things we discover tea bags, tea trading ships, swords, nooses, nautical knots, shells, and sand.
Time and time again, we hear from our clients what a joy it is to live with the “Dutch Master Series.” They reward multiple viewings and slowly reveal all their secrets over time. The Dutch Male Specimen is a perfect example of this. This feels less like a portrait than a tribute to a man who lived a life full of adventure and intrigue. We still find new elements every time we look.