Majorca: Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation: Nins: Portraits of Children. The jewel in the crown at the Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation is the important collection of Nins, Portraits of Children from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, which is hung in what used to be an underground reservoir. The entrance to the exhibition space is marked by a discreet canopy of Corten steel, designed by Antonio Obrador and the superb interior lighting, which facilitates the interpretation of the paintings, was designed by Alain Chevalier who had worked on the lighting of artworks both at the Louvre and at the Centre Pompidou. “The main criteria for choosing the selection was the aesthetic response and emotions provoked by each painting rather than by the desire to assemble a complete collection with a didactic purpose. The theme, which emerged as the collection took shape, was not just an overview of portraits of children across centuries but a glimpse of the mysterious world of childhood. These portraits, which form the core of the “Nins” collection, are from different countries, and different epochs and although, for the most part, they represent the sons and daughters of important historical figures, there are also images of children of more modest origins among them… This selection also enables us to follow the evolution of a certain way of depicting children, as well as the metamorphosis of clothing… And… The symbolism of various objects is given remarkable attention in these portraits and is of great interest. Important emblematic accessories and attributes of power such as scepters, crowns, thrones, drapes and tables are shown in detail, but so also are animals, fruits, flowers, elements symbolizing and underwriting the necessity of education and emphasizing the desirable virtues…. To a certain extent, this collection is a history of a family, a great European family, told through its unions and alliances.” Yannick Jakober.
Above: far right: Italian School: Portrait of Michele Antonio Saluzzo With His Dog, 1743 – M.G.B. Clementi called Clementina (1690-1761). Clementina was a court painter. Many of her works are conserved at the Palace di Caccia Stupinigi. One of the pictures exhibited there is a portrait of Vittorio Amedeo III, dated one year previously to this painting and clearly showing a stylistic similarity.
Italian School: Portrait of Vittorio Amadeo (1587-1637), Emanuele Filiberto (1588-1624) and Filippo Emanuele (1586-1605), di Savoia as young children, C. 1593-1594, Jan Kraeck known as Giovanni Caracca (active 1567-1607), Dutch School, oil on canvas.
French School: Portrait of Louis-Bufile Marquis of Brancas (1710-1753), 1711 Jean Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755). The painter signs this original canvas, dated 1711 by himself, on the reverse. Oudry was the pupil of Michel Serre and Nicholas Largilliere. He painted nearly three thousand works, including animal scenes, still lifes and portraits. In 1719, he became a member of the Academy of Painting and Sculpture and one of the favorite artists in the court of Louis XV.
French School: Portrait of Louis XIV (1638-1715) With His First Wet Nurse Madame Longuet de la Giraudiere, 1638 Charles Beauburn (1604-1692). Louis XIV, known as the Sun King, is represented at the age of four months with his first wet nurse. The Queens of Europe were supposed to give birth to a high number of children, in order to produce an heir to the crown. The royal babies ere in consequence fed by ladies of the most important aristocratic families.
Spanish School: Portrait of the Infante Alonso Caro (1611-12) Circle of Bartolome Gonzalez (1564-1627). The Infante was the last son of Philip III of Spain and his wife Margarita, who died giving birth. The king was loyal to her memory and never married again. This could be a version of the central part of the portrait representing the Infantes Fernando, Alonso Caro and Margarita, painted by Gonzalez in 1612, now at the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna.
Hapsburg School: Portrait of Sophie Christiane Wilhelmine, Countess of Solms-Laubach (1741-17720, c 1743 attributed to Antoine Pesne (1683-1757). The dress is influenced by the French fashion during the XVIII century. Antoine Pesne was the favorite painter of Fredrick I of Prussia. After the monarch’s death, he continued to work for his son in the palaces of Sans Souci, Postdam and Charlottenburg.
Dutch School: Portrait of a Lady with Two Sons and a Daughter, 1646 Monogramist C.V.D. This is presumably the portrait of a widow with her three children. The little daughter is holding a handbag of the type that is to be found in portraits of girls from the 1630’s and 1640’s. The whip in the older son’s hand represents discipline, in keeping with the educational ideals of the time.
photograph and copyright manfredi bellati
French School: Portrait of a Boy Dressed in Red, 1603 Francois Quesnel (1543-1619). According to the inscription, this boy is exactly seven and a half years old and has probably cast of his children’s clothes scarcely more than a year ago. For decorative reasons, the cloth is slashed, as was very much in fashion at the beginning of the XII century. The ruff is smaller than in earlier years. On the whole, the costume has lost the stiffness of the XVI century when Spanish fashion was the model.
English School: Portrait of Young Boy Wearing as Silvery Doublet, c. 1600 Circle of Robert Peake (1551-1519). Peake was one of the most successful portrait painters of the late Elizabethan period. The models wanted to resemble their medieval ancestors and therefore artist showed an ingenious archaism. The sitter wears elegant breeches and a sword. Boys around seven received both during their “breeching” ceremony, entering thus the world of adults.
Hapsburg School: Portrait of the Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790), c. 1743/44 Martin van Mytens the Younger (1695-1770). After the early death of the Emperor Charles VI, the House of Hapsburg in Austria had a big crisis. Then Joseph II became his family’s only hope. He always enjoyed the particular attention of his mother, the Empress Maria Teresa, and a privileged position among his numerous brothers.
Northern School: Portrait of Charles V (1500-1558) and of His Two Sisters Leonor (1498-1558) and Isabel (1501-1526), unknown copyist of the Master of the Brotherhood of Saint George. This triptych shows the children of Philip the Handsome and Joan the Mad. The sitters can be identified by the coats of arms and inscriptions: Charles V, future Emperor of Germany, Leonor Queen of Portugal and after of France: and Isabel wife of Christian II of Denmark.