Historic paintings

Adriaen van Cronenburgh (c. 1520/5-c.1604); Katheryn of Berain, 1568; Oil on oak panel
Adriaen van Cronenburgh
Katheryn of Berain
British School, 17th century; Portrait of Philip Proger; Oil on canvas
British School, 17th century
Portrait of Philip Proger
Claude Lorrain (1600-1682); Landscape with St Philip baptising the Eunuch, 1678; Oil on canvas
Claude Lorrain
Landscape with St Philip baptising the Eunuch

The National Museum Cardiff celebrated the acquisition of Portrait of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke by an Unknown Artist of the Netherlandish School (c.1560-5) by re-displaying our other early Welsh portraits. Most of the surviving paintings from the 16th century in Wales are portraits painted on wooden panels. They mainly depict wealthy members of the nobility and gentry who could afford to travel to London to have their likenesses taken by the immigrant Netherlandish artists who ran large portrait workshops there. The display includes the portrait Katheryn of Berain (who known as 'The Mother of Wales' because of her numerous marriages connecting her to many important Welsh families) by Adriaen van Cronenburgh, probably painted abroad in about 1568, the double portrait Sir Thomas Mansel and his wife Jane, showing them touchingly holding hands, of about 1625 and the charming Portrait of Philip Proger, a courtier depicted holding a leek as was common for Welshmen celebrating St David's Day at Court in London.

The collection also includes an important display of early miniatures by artists such as Hilliard, Isaac Oliver and John Hoskins. These works can be compared with the paintings produced throughout Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, including superb examples of the work of Cima da Conegliano, Bellini, Amico Aspertini working in Italy in the 16th century, important European landscape paintings of the 17th century including works by Poussin, Claude, Van de Cappelle, Aelbert Cuyp and Jan Asselyn, and Northern European paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Frans Hals and Mathieu Le Nain.

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