Portret van Martinus Antonius Kuytenbrouwer by Johannes Christiaan d’Arnaud Gerkens (1833- 1892). Click here to see it enlarged in the archives of the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam.
The portrait shows a good looking young painter. The painter looks down, which is a bit unusual but his facial features stand out wonderfully. The portrait looks almost modern because of the large blanc space. This causes the viewer to focus on M.A. Kuytenbrouwer’s face, which is a handsome face.
With the many cross hatches, the drawing looks professional and quickly set-up. However, M.A. Kuytenbrouwer’s left shoulder hangs a bit too low. The large signature of d’ Arnaud Gerkens is cleverly put in the empty space.
Martinus Antonius Kuytenbrouwer, the Elder was a member of the Utrecht Society of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam. He married Johanna Sophia Gijsberta Kolff in 1798. Their son, M. A. Kuytenbrouwer Jr. (1821 -1897), became a painter too. Above, the portrait is showing Martinus Antonius Kuytenbrouwer, the Younger.
Below is a painting by M.A. Kuytenbrouwer, the Elder. It shows a calm pastoral scene of a contented farmer, resting on a gate, looking at his cows and sheep. Or at the painter. The cows look at the painter too. I wish the puddle had been a bit bigger, then we could have seen a reflection of M.A. Kuytenbrouwer, sitting there with his painters-easel and canvas.
The second painting is by the son, M.A. Kuytenbrouwer, the Younger, and shows the opposite of calm. Travellers are taking a difficult road and the scene is full of struggling. Click on the paintings to enlarge.
It is wonderful to research M.A. Kuytenbrouwer the Elder and his son and look in the archives of the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam, here. The Dutch Royal family possesses a beautiful fan decorated with a painting of M.A. Kuytenbrouwer, the Younger. It is here.
More on M.A. Kuytenbrouwer, the Elder and Younger is here and here.
Martinus Antonius Kuytenbrouwer (1777-1850) was a Dutch soldier and painter of animals and landscapes. His first exhibition was held in 1813 in Amsterdam followed by more successful exhibitions. Horses played a major role in his work as a painter, most likely because as an officer he dealt with horses daily. M.A. Kuytenbrouwer was a member of the Utrecht Society of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam. He married Johanna Sophia Gijsberta Kolff in 1798. Their son M. A. Kuytenbrouwer Jr. (1821 -1897) became a painter too. A total of 24 works are known by Kuytenbrouwer Senior. Above is shown the undated Motherhood.
As one can expect in a painting by Kuytenbrouwer Sr., the horse, with its foal, takes centre stage. The mother horse is suckling her young. The cows seem to be the only mothers in the painting without babies. The small flock of sheep has two lambs and the shepherd family has a big, healthy looking baby contently drinking too. I see an orange little thing next to the shepherd mother that can either be a robin or a flower.
The manor house in the back is unknown to me and I wonder what the 11 trees mean. The tree most to the left looks the oldest, while the trees to the right seem to be younger and skinnier. This seems a perfect natural representation. If the trees should symbolize something, could it then be that the 11 trees represent members on one family? It wasn’t uncommon at Kuytenbrouwer’s time to have large families. Maybe the age and number of the trees also represent Motherhood: the oldest and thickest tree is the mother of all the young ones that are grouped a bit further away, closer to the light and open field.
I love paintings and art with breastfeeding mothers. When a mother sits down to breastfeed her hungry baby, a peaceful and relaxed moment is guaranteed. The father shepherd snuggles up closely to his wife and baby, and enjoys the scene.
The mother horse keeps an eye on the painter as if to say: ‘You are allowed to watch and paint, but don’t disturb us; a happy baby means a happy family’.
p.s. Readers have asked whether I’m related to M.A. Kuytenbrouwer. M.A. Kuytenbrouwer is my father’s family but of a distant branch of the Kuytenbrouwer-family tree and -of course- a few generations back. The name Kuytenbrouwer changed through the generations from Coytenbrover to Kuytenbrouwer to Kuitenbrouwer. There are now Kuytenbrouwers and Kuitenbrouwers.