About Jan Daemen Cool
Rotterdam 1589 – 1660 Rotterdam
Cool was the leading portrait painter in Rotterdam during the second quarter of the 17th century.
During the period 1613/1614 Cool is documented in Delft, some 15 km N of Rotterdam. He married here in October 1613. It is also presumed that he studied painting here under the famous local portrait painter Michiel van Mierevelt (Delft 1566 – 1641 Delft). In March 1614 Cool became a master in the Delft Painter’s Guild.
Shortly after, but most probably still in1614, Cool returned to his native Rotterdam, where he remained until his death in 1660.
His first wife died already in 1622, the following year Cool married his second wife, a widow, who passed away before him in 1652. Her first husband, the painter Louis Porcellis, who was the younger brother of the famous marine painter Jan Porcellis, had also just died at the start of March 1622.
In 1640 Cool became the legal guardian of the future landscape painter Gerrit van Battem (Rotterdam circa 1636 – 1684 Rotterdam). Battem was according to Giltaij (1983) the son of the painter Gerrit Batton.
One year later, in 1641, Battem’s mother married the landscape painter Jacob de Villeers (1616 – 1667). In 1646 de Villeers hit the jackpot: though not particularly known as an exceptional landscape painter he was paid that year the huge sum of 1.500 guilders by the admiralty of Rotterdam for having decorated with landscape paintings two rooms in a new ship for Prince Frederic Henry. Gerrit Battem was possibly a pupil of the landscape painter Abraham Furnerius (1628 – 1654) in the period 1648 – 1654, when both men must have travelled together along the river Rhine. Gerrit’s mother is said to have been an aunt of Furnerius.
Cool is known for having never signed a single of his paintings, but nearly all his works are marked with date inscriptions, as is ours.
Attributions to Cool are based on one securely attributed work, substantiated by archive records. It is a group portrait painted in 1653 of the governors and administrator of the Holy Ghost Hospital of Rotterdam. After the death of his second wife in 1652 Cool, who was a very prosperous man, bought himself a place in this local almshouse for 1.200 guilders. He had also promised to paint this portrait.
As to a second painting by Cool, a portrait of Piet Hein of which Willem Hondius made a print, it is known today through a 17th century copy made after this lost original.
Cool made up his will in 1656; he appointed Ludolf de Jongh as his guardian and executioner. De Jongh (1616 – 1679), who had studied under Cornelis Saftleven in Rotterdam, under Anthonie Palamedesz. in Delft and under Jan van Bijlert in Utrecht, was also influenced by Cool.
About our painting
Many of Cool’s single and family group portraits have in the past been given to Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp (1594-1652) from Dordrecht. In 1997 they have been convincingly attributed to Jan Daemen Cool by Rudi Ekkart. A relationship in style between these two masters is evident, but Cool's work is characterised by a tighter and more matter-of-fact style which is in line with the portrait production in Delft and The Hague by artists such as Michiel van Mierevelt and Jan Anthonisz. van Ravesteyn.
Characteristic for Cool is the attention to hands and gestures, which give his portraits a livelier feel than those of Cuyp.
Based on the securely attributed group portrait from the Rotterdam hospital Ruddi Ekkart has formed in 1997 a corpus of paintings that he has attributed to Jan Daemen Cool.
According to Rudi Ekkart their is a clear family link between our boy from 1640 and the two boys from the National Galleries of Edinborough painted in 1633. Ekkart thinks that, as the landscape in our painting resembles that of the large family portraits of Cool, our painting might be the left fragment of a family portrait of which, until now, no other parts are known.
The way in which our portrait is dated is consistent with other works by Cool. Typical for Cool is the Ao of which the right leg of the A ends with an elegant cross-line.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is a great example of the art of portraiture in Rotterdam by its main specialist of those days.