Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Jan (1438–1516), First Count of Egmond; Countess of Egmond (Magdalena van Werdenburg, 1464–1538)

North Netherlandish Painter (after 1516)
Oil on canvas, transferred from wood (.122, the Count); oil on wood (.118, the Countess)
(.122, the Count): overall, with arched top, 16 3/4 x 10 1/4 in. (42.5 x 26 cm); original painted surface 16 1/4 x 9 5/8 in. (41.3 x 24.4 cm); (.118, the Countess) overall, with arched top and engaged frame original painted surface 19 1/4 x 12 1/2 in. (48.9 x 31.8 cm); painted surface 16 1/2 x 9 1/4 in. (41.9 x 24.8 cm)
Credit Line:
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Accession Number:
32.100.118, 122
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 644
In 1484, the future count Jan van Egmond married Magdalena van Werdenburg, when he was forty-six and she was twenty years old. Evidently these portraits depict an older couple; rather than celebrating the marriage, they were probably painted upon Jan’s death. The wizened count wears his highest honor, a collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, while Magdalena is depicted as a widow, with a black band around her wedding ring. She holds a pink, a symbol of marriage, but unlike the one in a nearby painting (49.7.23), the flower is turned downward, as if to acknowledge Jan’s passing.
baron Adolphe de Rothschild, Paris (until d. 1900); his heir, baron Maurice de Rothschild, Paris (1900–at least 1919); [Wildenstein, Paris]; [Kleinberger, New York, 1920]; Michael Friedsam, New York (1920–d. 1931)
New York. F. Kleinberger Galleries. "Loan Exhibition of French Primitives and Objects of Art," October 17–November 12, 1927, nos. 37 and 38 (as by the Master of Moulins, lent by Michael Friedsam).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Michael Friedsam Collection," November 15, 1932–April 9, 1933, no catalogue.

Amsterdam. Rijksmuseum. "Drie eeuwen portret in Nederland," June 29–October 5, 1952, nos. 98–99.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Dutch Couples: Pair Portraits by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries," January 23–March 5, 1973, no. 3.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 22, 1998–February 21, 1999, no. 37.

Rotterdam. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. "Schilderkunst van de late Middleleeuwen: Vroege Hollanders," February 16–May 25, 2008, no. 22.

Max J. Friedländer. "Kleine Studienergebnisse." Kunstchronik 26 (October 1914), col. 50, on the basis of drawings in the Recueil d'Arras [Bibliothèque Municipale, Arras, fols. 202 and 203] identifies the sitters in these portraits as the Count and Countess of Egmond; dates them shortly before the Count's death in 1516 and ascribes them to the Master of Alkmaar, comparing them with his "Seven Mercies" [now Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam], dated 1504.

Max J. Friedländer. "Der Meister von Alkmaar." Monatshefte für Kunstwissenschaft 12 (1919), pp. 173–74.

Louis Réau. "Une collection de primitifs français en Amérique." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 13 (January 1926), pp. 11–12, ill. (the Count), identifies the male portrait as "Guillaume de Montmorency" by Jean Clouet.

Max J. Friedländer. "Kunstpflege in Amerika." Der Cicerone 19 (1927), p. 734, observes that in the 1927 catalogue of the Exhibition of French Primitives these portraits are attributed to the Master of Moulins and that he [Friedländer] is mistakenly put forward as the source for this attribution.

R. R. T[?atlock]. "An American Exhibition of French Primitives." Burlington Magazine 51 (1927), ill. opp. p. 192, pls. 1a and 1c, illustrates the portraits as works by the Master of Moulins.

Louis Réau in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], pp. 204, 206, as "Portrait of an Old Man" and "Portrait of a Woman" by the Master of Moulins, but notes that an attribution to Jean Clouet might also be maintained.

E. M. Sperling. Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of Flemish Primitives. Exh. cat., F. Kleinberger Galleries, Inc., New York. New York, 1929, attributes them to the Master of Moulins and states erroneously that Friedländer identified them as works by him; notes that the Count wears the Order of the Golden Fleece.

N. F. van Gelder–Schrijver. "De Meester van Alkmaar." Oud-Holland 47 (1930), pp. 105–9, 121, ill. (the portraits and the drawings in the Recueil d'Arras), dates them about 1508–10, accepting Friedländer's attribution to the Master of Alkmaar and his identification of the sitters.

Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), pp. 25–26, call the painter Dutch and mention contemporary portraits of the couple in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam [nos. A 1547 and A 1548].

Max J. Friedländer. Die altniederländische Malerei. Vol. 10, Lucas van Leyden und andere Holländische Meister seiner Zeit. Berlin, 1932, pp. 35, 40–41, 126, no. 59, pl. 31, notes that the Count, who looks about 70 years old, received the order of the Golden Fleece from Philip the Handsome in 1491 and concludes that the portraits must date somewhat after 1504; remarks that the artist's older male subjects seem generally to share the "mean and rascally nature" of the Count's portrait and that our panel should not therefore be seen as an example of remarkable powers of characterization; cautiously suggests that the Master of Alkmaar may be identifiable with Cornelis Buys, perhaps a brother of Jacob Cornelisz., and Jan van Scorel's first teacher; notes that according to early sources the Egmond van der [sic for "de"] Nyenborg family [governors of the castle of Nyenburg for the count of Egmond, but not his blood relations] were patrons of Buys.

G. J. Hoogewerff. De noord-nederlandsche schilderkunst. Vol. 2, The Hague, 1937, pp. 411–14, 416, ill., dates the portraits 1500–1505, and attributes them to Cornelis Buys "of Alkmaar".

Charles Sterling. La peinture française: Les peintres du moyen age. Paris, 1942, p. 65, no. 44, rejects Réau's attribution of the Count to Jean Clouet [see Ref. Réau 1926] and the later attribution of the pair to the Master of Moulins; considers our portraits Dutch works from close to the end of the 15th century.

P. Wescher. "Jan Scorel und die beiden Cornelis Buys, der Ältere und der Jüngere." Oud-Holland 61 (1946), pp. 84, 86, 94, erroneously identifies the memorial painting mentioned by old sources as begun by Cornelis Buys for the Egmond van de Nyenborg family [employed by but not related to the Egmond family] and completed by his pupil Jan van Scorel, with a Lamentation in a Dutch private collection [now Centraal Museum, Utrecht]; identifies at the far left of the panel, a portrait of Jan of Egmond that closely follows the Count's appearance in our portrait; concludes that the artist who "began" this work and painted our portraits must be Cornelis Buys the Elder.

Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta Salinger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Early Flemish, Dutch and German Paintings. New York, 1947, pp. 103–5, ill., as probably painted not long before the Count's death in 1516.

Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Hans Vollmer. Vol. 37, Leipzig, 1950, p. 11.

Colin Eisler. "Erik Larsen, Les primitifs flamands au Musée Metropolitain de New York, 1960." Art Bulletin 46 (March 1964), p. 104.

Gert von der Osten and Horst Vey. Painting and Sculpture in Germany and the Netherlands 1500 to 1600. Baltimore, 1969, p. 163, consider the Master of Alkmaar identical either with Cornelis Buys the Elder, active about 1490–1524 at Alkmaar, or with Pieter Gerritsz., who had been at Alkmaar and Haarlem since 1502 and died at Harlem in 1540; observe that the Master belonged to the Haarlem school before Mostaert developed it.

Max J. Friedländer et al. Early Netherlandish Painting. Vol. 10, Lucas van Leyden and other Dutch Masters of his Time. New York, 1973, pp. 25, 27–28, 75, no. 59, pl. 39.

Lorne Campbell. Unpublished text for MMA Bulletin. 1981.

Guy Bauman. "Early Flemish Portraits, 1425–1525." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 43 (Spring 1986), p. 34, suggests that these portraits, like Memling's "Portrait of a Man" [14.40.648] and its pendant in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, show the sitters' "desire near life's end to commision portraits of themselves that document a long and presumably successful marriage," adding that "such paired paintings fostered a sense of family history".

Ellen Konowitz in The Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 20, New York, 1996, p. 615, dates our portraits after 1504; observes that the Master of Alkmaar is generally identified with Cornelis Buys the Elder, active in Alkmaar between 1490 and 1524; considers him unlikely to be the Haarlem painter Pieter Gerritsz., since the latter was probably active until 1540, and works ascribed to the Master of Alkmaar do not seem later than about 1515.

Paul Huvenne in La pittura nei Paesi Bassi. Ed. Bert W. Meijer. Milan, 1997, vol. 1, p. 174, figs. 144–45 (color).

Véronique Sintobin in From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, pp. 185–86, no. 37, ill. (color), dates the portraits about 1510.

Cyriel Stroo et al. The Flemish Primitives III: Catalogue of Early Netherlandish Painting in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. Vol. 3, The Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Bouts, Gerard David, Colijn de Coter and Goossen van der Weyden Groups. Brussels, 2001, p. 82 n. 19, note that a similar type of hat is worn by the donor figure in Hieronymus Bosch's Crucifixion with a Donor and Saint Peter (Musées Royaux), which they date about 1490.

Albert Châtelet. Visages d'antan: Le Recueil d'Arras. Lathuile, France, 2007, p. 241, ill., as by "Cornélis Buys (?)".

Jeroen Giltaij et al. in Schilderkunst van de late Middeleeuwen: Vroege Hollanders. Ed. Friso Lammertse and Jeroen Giltaij. Exh. cat., Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Rotterdam, 2008, pp. 151, 157–59, no. 22, ill. (color), does not see a convincing relationship between our portraits and the Seven Acts of Mercy in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Maryan W. Ainsworth. E-mail to Everett Fahy. June 2, 2008, notes that on the occasion of the 2008 "Vroege Hollanders" exhibition in Rotterdam she was able to see our portraits beside the panels representing the "Seven Acts of Mercy" from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and discuss their attribution with other specialists; concludes that our panels "have nothing whatsoever to do with the technique, handling, and execution" of the panels in the Rijksmuseum.

Contemporary portraits of the Count and Countess of Egmond are in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (nos. A1547 and A1548), and appear also in a Lamentation of about 1535–40 from the workshop of Jan van Scorel (Centraal Museum, Utrecht, inv. no. 1128).
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