About the artwork
[Portrait of Johannes Commelin].
[Amsterdam, ca. 1670]. 63 x 48.5 cm (frame 86 x 71 cm). Oil painting on linen, in contemporary richly ornamented gilt wooden frame.
Beautiful portrait in oils of the botanist Johannes Commelin (1629-1692), director of the Amsterdam Hortus Botanicus (botanical garden), apothecary and merchant at Amsterdam, attributed to Gerbrand (Jansz.) vanden Eeckhoudt) (1621-1674), one of Rembrandt's leading pupils.
Commelin is depicted at the age of about forty, judging from his appearance, seated at his desk before a massive pillar, with a view into the Amsterdam Hortus Botanicaus forming the background. He is no doubt intended to be shown working on his description of the plants in the garden, and therefore holds a twig with two white flowers in his left hand, possibly a flower in the genus Commelina, named after him and his nephew Casparus Commelin. His great life's work describing the plants is shown to his left, opened to its title-page, but it is still in manuscript, with a title whose exact wording never appeared in any of Commelin's published works.
In very good condition. The varnish has darkened somewhat with age. A fine Dutch master portrait by one of Rembrandt's leading pupils, depicting the great botanist Johannes Commelin, with an early manuscript of his great botanical work open before him.
RKD: Netherlands Institute for Art History (https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/270613).