Second quarter of the 17th Century | Ca. 1630/5
A Pair of Portraits, traditionally identified as Willem I of Orange (1533 – 1584) and his extramarital son Justinus van Nassau (1559 – 1631)
Oil on panel
H. 23,4 cm. W. 18,3 cm.
Collection J. van Amelsvoort | With label verso
Private collection | Brussels | Belgium | As attributed to Frans Pourbus II (1569 – 1622)
We are grateful to Prof. dr. R.E.O. Ekkart, former director of the RKD in The Hague and emeritus professor at the Art Historical Institute of the Utrecht University, for his kind assistance in cataloguing these portraits. These two portraits are traditionally identified as William I ’the Silent’ of Orange and his illegitimate son Justin of Nassau. Justin was the only illegitimate son of William of Orange and his mistress Eva Elinx. William officially recognized Justin and he grew up at court, received a noble education and was the first Nassau descendant to study at the University of Leiden. Justinus was lieutenant-admiral of Zeeland and later governor of Breda. Alone and together with State Advocate Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, he travelled to France and England on various diplomatic missions. After the capitulation of Breda in 1625, he moved to Leiden where he spent his last years as an unofficial citizen.
The prototype of the portrait of Justinus van Nassau, formerly given to Frans Pourbus II, is at present unknown. As such, the present picture if the only know example of a youth portrait of Justinus, the recognised extramarital son of Willem I of Orange.