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Home / Great Artists / M / Michiel Jansz Miereveld / Biography
Biography Michiel Jansz Miereveld

Michiel Jansz Miereveld Biography


1567-1641

Dutch Baroque Painter

Michiel Jansz van Mierevelt (or Mierveld or Mireveldt; 1567 - 27 June 1641), Dutch painter, was born at Delft, the son of a goldsmith, who apprenticed him to the copperplate engraver Hieronymus Wierix. He subsequently became a pupil of Willem Willemz and Augusteyn of Delft, until Anthonie van Montfoort (Blocklandt), who had seen and admired two of Mierevelt's early engravings, "Christ and the Samaritan" and "Judith and Holofernes", invited him to enter his school at Utrecht.

Devoting himself first to still life, he eventually took up portraiture, in which he achieved such success that the many commissions entrusted to him necessitated the employment of numerous assistants, by whom hundreds of portraits were turned out in factory fashion. The works that can with certainty be ascribed to his own brush are remarkable for their sincerity, severe drawing and harmonious color, but comparatively few of the two thousand or more portraits that bear his name are wholly his own handiwork. So great was his reputation that he was patronized by royalty in many countries and acquired great wealth. The king of Sweden and the count palatine of Neuburg presented him with golden chains, Archduke Albrecht gave him a pension, and Charles I vainly endeavoured to induce him to visit the English court.

Though Mierevelt is chiefly known as a portrait painter, he also executed some mythological pieces of minor importance. Many of his portraits have been reproduced in line by the leading Dutch engravers of his time. He died at Delft.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has the richest collection of Mierevelt's works, chief of them being the portraits of William, Philip William, Maurice, and Frederick Henry of Orange, and of the count palatine Frederick V. At The Hague Museum are the portraits of four princes of the house of Orange, of Frederick V as king of Bohemia, and of Louise de Coligny as a widow. Other portraits by him are at nearly all the leading continental galleries, notably at Brunswick, Gotha, Schwerin, Munich, Paris, Dresden, Berlin and Darmstadt. The town hall of Delft also has numerous examples of his work.

Many of his pupils and assistants rose to fame. The most gifted of them were Paulus Moreelse and Jan van Ravesteyn. His sons Pieter (1596 - 1623) and Jan (died 1633), and his son-in-law Willem Jacobz Delff, probably painted many of the pictures which go under his name. His portrait was painted by Van Dyck and engraved by Delff.