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Willem Jacobsz Delff after Sir Anthony van Dyck, Michel Miereveld, probably 1626/1641, engraving on laid paper, New Hollstein, no. 74, State viii/viii, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Arthur and Charlotte Vershbow, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art, 1990.125.1.64

Michiel van Miereveld

Dutch, 1567 - 1641

Miereveld, Michiel Jansz van; Mierevelt, Michiel van; Miereveldt, Michiel van

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Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., “Michiel van Miereveld,” NGA Online Editions, (accessed December 03, 2023).

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Michiel van Miereveld was born in Delft on May 1, 1567. His father, Jan Michelz Miereveld (1528–1612), was a goldsmith. Although Michiel was to become one of Holland's leading exponents of formal portraiture during the first decades of the seventeenth century, his earliest training was as a history painter, working in the international late mannerist style. Karel van Mander wrote that Van Miereveld's first teacher was Willem Willemsz and that he then studied with "Augustijn at Delft" for some ten weeks before moving on at the age of about fourteen to the studio of Anthonie van Blocklandt (Netherlandish, c. 1533 - 1583) at Utrecht. There he remained for more than two years; following Blocklandt's death, Van Miereveld returned to Delft and began working as a portraitist.

Van Miereveld registered as a member of the Delft painters' guild in 1587 and served as its hoofdman on two occasions, from 1589 to 1590 and again from 1611 to 1612. He frequently traveled the short distance to The Hague to work at the court of the Stadholder, Prince Maurits of Orange. Van Miereveld entered that city's Guild of Saint Luke in 1625, but it is not clear whether he ever lived and worked in The Hague on a full-time basis. Both of his marriages took place in Delft, in 1589 and 1633 respectively, and he bought a house there in 1639. He died in Delft on June 27, 1641. Van Miereveld's work was extremely popular and brought him fame and fortune. At the time of his death, he owned two houses and various pieces of land and belonged “to the wealthiest stratum of the bourgeoisie in Delft.”[1] Sandrart claimed that Van Miereveld painted more than 10,000 portraits. While this figure must be an exaggeration, the artist's oeuvre is indeed very large and is further swelled by numerous repetitions and variations of his compositions executed by pupils and followers. Paulus Moreelse (Dutch, 1571 - 1638) and Anthonie Palamedesz (1601–1673) were his most notable pupils. Van Miereveld’s sons Pieter (1596–1623) and Jan (1604–1633) also became portraitists.

[1] John Michael Montias, Artists and Artisans in Delft: A Socio-Economic Study of the Seventeenth Century (Princeton, 1982), 129.

Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.

April 24, 2014

Artist Bibliography

Mander, Karel van. Het Schilder-boeck. Haerlem, 1604: 301.
Mander, Karel van. Het Schlder-boek. 2nd ed. Amsterdam, 1618: 301.
Houbraken, Arnold. De Groote Schouburgh der Nederlantsche Konstschilders en Schilderessen. 3 vols. in 1. The Hague, 1753 (Reprint: Amsterdam, 1976): 1:46-49.
Havard, Henry. Michiel van Mierevelt et son genre. Paris, 1894.
Bredius, Abraham. "Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt." Oud Holland 26 (1908): 1-17.
Sandrart, Joachim von. Joachim von Sandrarts Academie der Bau-, Bild, -und Mahlerey-Künste von 1675. Leben der berühmten Maler, Bildhauer und Baumeister. Edited by Alfred R. Peltzer. Abridged ed. Munich, 1925: 171-172, 179 (portrait).
Montias, John Michael. Artists and Artisans in Delft: A Socio-Economic Study of the Seventeenth Century. Princeton, 1982.
De Jongh, E. Portretten van echt en trouw - Huwelijk en gezin in de Nederlandse kunst van de zeventiende eeuw. Exh. cat. Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem. Zwolle, 1986: 131-133.
MacLaren, Neil. The Dutch School, 1600-1900. Revised and expanded by Christopher Brown. 2 vols. National Gallery Catalogues. London, 1991: 1:261.
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1995: 168-169.
Jansen, Anita, Rudolf E.O. Ekkart, and Johanneke Verhave. De Portretfabriek van Michiel van Mierevelt (1566-1641). Exh. cat. Museum Het Prinsenhof, Delft. Zwolle, 2011.
Overduin, Annekarijn. Meer Van Mierevelt: tentoonstellingsgids bij 'Portretfabriek Van Mierevelt. Ontdek de hand van de meester.' Exh. guide. Museum Het Prinsenhof, Delft, 2011.

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