Ferdinand Bol Paints Portrait of Elisabeth Bas

Elisabeth Bas (1571, Kampen - 2 August 1649, Amsterdam) was a figure in the Dutch Republic.

She was the wife of Jochem Hendricksz. Swartenhont.

Swartenhont was a captain in the navy of the Dutch Republic and a military hero. Jochem Swartenhont was painted, wearing his military decorations by Nicolaes Eliasz. Pickenoy (1588-1655) - Pickenoy also painted Joachem's daughter Maria. During the Twelve Years' Truce (1609-1621) Jochem was out of work and set up a tavern in Amsterdam named after the Prince of Orange. It was on the corner of the Nes and the Pieter Jacobszstraat and was patronised by politicians, artists and writers. After Jochem's death Elisabeth sold it, becoming rich (she left 28,000 guilders on her death).

Jochem died in 1627, leaving his wife and four children. Three of these children died before their mother. The eldest daughter, Maria, had had three children and so these were adopted by Elisabeth on Maria's death - one of them, Maria Rey, later commissioned a portrait of Elisabeth from Ferdinand Bol. It is now in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, where it is known as Elisabeth Bas and attributed to Ferdinand Bol (1616 - 1680), though the identity of the sitter is held to be in doubt by the Rijksmuseum. Until 1911 it was thought to be by Rembrandt, but that year the Rembrandt expert Abraham Bredius re-attributed it to Bol. Such a re-attribution was hotly contested by the collector and art historian Cornelis Hofstede de Groot (1836-1930), but is now accepted. A brand of cigars was named after this painting in the 20th century, produced at a factory at Boxtel and using the painting as a logo, and their bands and the boxes for cigars of this brand are still collectors' items.

Extra large view of the image

An old woman is sitting quietly in her chair. On the table beside her is a book. She is wearing a kind of two-piece: a black dress and matching coat trimmed with fur, which is draped elegantly over the chair. In her hand is a handkerchief. This type of costume was fashionable around 1640 but the large ruff and the cap with wing flaps were out-of-date by this time. Nevertheless, the older generation tended to ignore the whims of fashion and continued to wear these garments.