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6. Defining dominance – Mikael Bøgh Rasmussen

Defining dominance: Abraham Wuchters versus Karel van Mander III

Mikael Bøgh Rasmussen

English text by the author, edited by Brian Capstick

Karel van Mander III (1609-1670) was no doubt the most prominent artist at the Danish court in the central decades of 17th-century Denmark. The aim of this article is to research the career of his main contender and eventual successor in that position: Abraham Wuchters (1608-1682), who was for most of Van Mander’s career assigned a secondary position.

Abraham Wuchters, Self-portrait of Abraham Wuchters (1608-1680), 1640s or 1650s

Abraham Wuchters
Self-portrait of Abraham Wuchters (1608-1680) 1640s or 1650s
oil paint / panel, 69 x 51 cm
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, no. Sp. 803

Alexander Cooper, Portrait of Karel van Mander III (1609-1670), c. 1656

Alexander Cooper
Portrait of Karel van Mander III (1609-1670) c. 1656
gouache (material/technique) / vellum, 7,8 x 5,5 cm
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, no. KMS3731

As an introduction to the theme of the article, I will discuss briefly Danish art for the elite from the onset of the baroque under the elective monarchy of Christian IV in the 1630s, until the establishment of new state art institutions meant to support the newly established absolute and hereditary monarchy under his son Frederick III and grandson Christian V. Thus, Danish elite art at that time was and should be considered as a structure in transition and transformation. Van Mander’s position in it and his ability to hold it turns out to be the more impressive when one takes into consideration the fundamental changes that he would have to adapt to along the way. Van Mander’s achievement is thrown into high relief when compared with the struggling career of his fellow court artist Wuchters. But first, it is necessary to address the question of attribution.

Datum laatste wijziging: Apr 20, 2015 03:40 PM