A Dutch portrait of a member of a crossbow shooting society, dated 1665
Works of Art, Antiquities | A83kua | Live auction | 422 Lots
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DescriptionOil on canvas. The half-length portrait shows a middle-aged man in sober Calvinist dress, with a broad, white collar, cuffs and dark cloak draped over the top. The man with a gold bird on a red ribbon around his neck, holding a target bolt with a blunt point in his hand. A window niche revealing a vast landscape vista in the background. The wall inscribed "L.V.K. AET(ATIS) SUE 48 - 1665" at the top left. Unframed. Dimensions 106 x 90 cm.
The subject's name has unfortunately been lost in the mists of time. However, it appears likely that he was a leading member of one of the contemporary crossbow shooting societies. This is indicated by the target bolt that he is holding in his left hand. Moreover, the gold bird pendant on the red ribbon around his neck is also associated with crossbow shooting; it may be a shooting trophy or perhaps stand for the high office that he holds within the shooting society.
Established back in the Middle Ages, shooting companies were held in high esteem in Flemish and Dutch cities. While the archers' main role at that time was no longer to defend the city, during the 17th century, shooting societies served as a meeting point for the upper classes.
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