Mytens, Daniel (DNB00)

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MYTENS, DANIEL (1590?–1642), portrait-painter, son of Maerten Mytens, a saddler, was born about 1590 at the Hague in Holland. It is uncertain from what master he received his instructions in art, but it is very likely that it was in the school of the portrait-painter Michiel van Miereveldt at Delft. Subsequently he was much influenced by the style of Rubens. In 1610 he was made a member of the guild of St. Luke at the Hague. He came over to England before 1618, and quickly obtained favour among the court and nobility. Mytens received from James I, in 1624, a grant of a house in St. Martin's Lane (Illustr. London News, 6 June 1857), and on the accession of Charles I was made ‘king's painter,’ with a pension for life (Rymer, Fœdera, xxviii. 3). His earlier portraits are with difficulty to be distinguished from those by Paul van Somer [q. v.], on whose death in 1621 Mytens was left without a rival. There is no ground for Walpole's suggestion, that the full-length portraits by these two artists can be distinguished through those standing on matting being by Van Somer, and those on oriental carpets by Mytens. The full-length portraits by Mytens, though stiff in attitude and costume, have great dignity, and are frequently painted with much care and excellence. He was a versatile artist, and was employed by Charles I to copy pictures by older masters. Among such copies may be noted that of Titian's ‘Venus’ (now at Hampton Court), for which Mytens was paid 120l. in 1625 (Illustr. London News, 27 March 1858), a set of copies of Raphael's cartoons (now at Knole), less than the original size, and the full-length portraits of Margaret Tudor, queen of Scotland, and Mary Queen of Scots (both now at Hampton Court), and James IV, king of Scotland (at Keir). Many pictures by Mytens are included in the catalogue of Charles I's collection. He also painted small portraits; on 18 Aug. 1618 he wrote to Sir Dudley Carleton concerning ‘that picture or portrait of the Ld of Arundel and his lady together in a small forme,’ and ‘rowled up in a small case’ (Carpenter, Hist. Notices of Vandyck, p. 176). Vertue narrates in his ‘Diary’ (Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 23075, f. 32) that on the arrival of Vandyck in England Mytens felt himself overmatched, and begged leave from the king to withdraw into Holland, but without success. It would appear, however, that he was on very friendly terms with Vandyck, as the latter included Mytens's portrait in his famous series known as the ‘Centum Icones,’ and painted a fine portrait of Mytens and his wife (now at Woburn Abbey).

Among the existing portraits signed and dated by Mytens may be noted James, marquis of Hamilton, 1622 (Hampton Court and Knole); Lionel Cranfield, earl of Middlesex, 1623 (Knole); Lodovick Stuart, duke of Richmond, 1623 (Hampton Court); Ernest, count Mansfeldt, and Christian, duke of Brunswick, 1624 (Hampton Court), in the year of their embassy to solicit help from James I; the Countess of Newcastle, 1624 (Duke of Portland); George Calvert, lord Baltimore, 1627 (Wentworth Woodhouse); Charles I, with architectural background by H. Steenwyck, 1627 (Turin Gallery); Charles I, 1629, and Henrietta Maria, 1630, both engraved by W. J. Delff; Robert Rich, earl of Warwick, 1632 (Sir C. S. Rich, bart.); Anne Clifford, countess of Dorset, 1632 (Knole, half-length); Philip, earl of Pembroke, 1634 (Hardwick). Among others may be noticed a large picture of Charles I, Henrietta Maria, and the dwarf, Sir Jeffrey Hudson, with horses, dogs, and servants, of which versions exist at Windsor Castle, Serlby, and Knowsley; Sir Jeffrey Hudson (Hampton Court); Charles I (Cobham Hall); George, duke of Buckingham (formerly at Blenheim Palace); William, second duke of Hamilton (Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, from Hamilton Palace); Charles Howard, earl of Nottingham (at Arundel Castle, Greenwich, and elsewhere); Henry Wriothesley, earl of Southampton; and his own portrait by himself (Hampton Court). Portraits of Henry, prince of Wales (d. 1612), at Hampton Court and Knole, are ascribed to Mytens, and are probably copies from some older picture.

Mytens returned to Holland in 1630, and died there in 1642; but there is great uncertainty as to the end of his life. Mytens married at the Hague, in 1612, Gratia Clejtser. He was remarried, on 2 Sept. 1628, at the Dutch Church, Austin Friars, London, to Johanna Drossaert, widow of Joos de Neve, by whom he had two children, Elisabeth and Susanna, baptised at the same church on 1 July 1629 (Moens, Register of the Dutch Church, Austin Friars). Care must be taken to distinguish his works from those of his younger brother, Isaac Mytens (d. 1632), his nephew (son of his elder brother, David), Johannes Mytens and his son, Daniel Mytens the younger, and another nephew (son of Isaac), Maerten Mytens, who all became portrait-painters, but in no instance worked in England.

[Walpole's Anecd. of Painting, ed. Wornum; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Seguier's Dict. of Painters; Catalogues of Exhibitions and Picture Galleries; information from George Scharf, esq., C.B., and E. W. Moes (Amsterdam); authorities cited in the text.]

L. C.