Petrus Scriverius (1576–1660)

Frans Hals (Dutch, Antwerp 1582/83–1666 Haarlem)
Oil on wood
8 3/4 x 6 1/2 in. (22.2 x 16.5 cm)
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 637
Scriverius was a distinguished historian, poet, and scholar of classical literature. His wife, Anna van der Aar, was the daughter of a Leiden city councilman. In this pair of portraits Hals employs the scale, oval format, and illusionistic framing device that for several decades had been common in Dutch portrait prints. The male portrait alone was engraved in 1626, by Jan van de Velde II; impressions would have been sent to scholarly colleagues throughout Europe. The panels were retained as family keepsakes, in which Hals achieved the same vivid effects that he usually described on a much larger scale.
This small portrait and its pendant, Anna van der Aar (The Met, 29.100.9), are certainly by Hals and are each monogrammed and dated 1626. The sitters lived in Leiden, though Hals would have painted them in Haarlem, where they both had close ties. Pieter Schrijver—who is better known by his Latinized name, Petrus Scriverius—was the eldest son of Hendrik Schrijver, an Amsterdam merchant, and of Cornelia Soop, who came from a wealthy family in Haarlem. The couple settled there, and when business concerns obliged Hendrik Schrijver to move his family back to Amsterdam, Pieter was left in the care of his mother's sister. The boy attended Latin school in Haarlem, and transferred at the age of nineteen to the University of Leiden. Six years later, in 1599, he married Anna van der Aar, daughter of the city councilman and sheriff, Willem Govertsz van der Aar. Scriverius spent the rest of his life in Leiden studying classical literature and the history of the Netherlands. He was associated with leading scholars of the day, including the esteemed French humanist and Leiden professor Joseph Justus Scaliger, whose poems he edited. Scriverius also published Dutch poems of his own composition, as well as an edition of Seneca's tragedies (1621) and commentaries on other classical authors. He is best remembered, however, for his histories of the Netherlands and of particular provinces, Batavia illustrata (1609), Beschryving van Oud Batavien (1612), and Principes Hollandiae, Zelandiae et Frisiae (1650).

The painting was engraved by Jan van de Velde II in 1626 (The Met, 24.57.27). Below the engraved portrait is a tablet inscribed with an anonymous poem in Latin extolling the sitter's admirable qualities. In the case of pendant portraits of a public figure and his wife, it was normal that (as in this case) only the male portrait would be engraved. Hals's portrait of Scriverius's wife, Anna van der Aar, thus indicates that the scholar's portrait was not made solely as a modello for a print, but also as a personal keepsake. The scale and design of the two portraits, however, were certainly determined by the intention of having Scriverius's image immortalized in an engraving. The fact that Van de Velde's print does not bear the name of a publisher implies that it was intended mainly for private distribution, a gesture common in the academic community. Formal precedents for Hals's composition—with the figure penetrating the plane of the framing device—were plentiful, notably in portraits of the 1590s by Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617), Haarlem's most famous artist of the time.

Van de Velde's engraving after Hals's portrait, or the portrait itself, has been said to have served as a model for one of Rembrandt's most memorable portrait prints, that of the deceased preacher Jan Cornelisz Sylvius (1563/64–1638; see Schwartz 1985, Slive 1989, and Welzel 1991). Some influence is plausible, though the Rembrandt etching is closer to Hals's small portrait of the Haarlem theologian Johannes Acronius, of 1627, and to his small Portrait of a Man on copper, probably also from 1627 (both Gemäldegalerie, Berlin).

In addition to his relationship with Haarlem artists, Scriverius has been identified as a likely patron of Rembrandt in Leiden during the mid-1620s. Late in life, he became the owner of Rembrandt's The Standard Bearer (Floris Soop, 1604–1657) of 1654 (The Met, 49.7.35). The canvas depicts the scholar's nephew. As the bachelor's sole heir, Scriverius inherited the portrait, but never saw it, having gone blind four years before it was painted.

[2011; adapted from Liedtke 2007]
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed: (lower border of painted frame) FHF [initials in monogram] 1626; (right center) Ao ÆTAT.50
M. J. Caan van Maurik, Oudewater; [Étienne Le Roy, Brussels]; John Waterloo Wilson, Brussels and Paris (by 1873–81; his sale, at his hotel, avenue Hoche, 3, Paris, March 14–16, 1881, no. 56, for Fr 80,000 with pendant [MMA 29.100.9], to Petit); [Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, from 1881]; E. Secrétan, Paris (by 1883–89; his sale, Galerie Charles Sedelmeyer, Paris, July 1–7, 1889, no. 124, for Fr 91,000 with pendant [MMA 29.100.9], to Durand-Ruel for Havemeyer); Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, New York (1889–his d. 1907); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1907–d. 1929)
Brussels. Cercle Artistique et Littéraire. "Collection de M. John W. Wilson," 1873, unnumbered cat. (p. 81).

Paris. Palais de la Présidence du Corps Législatif. "Ouvrages de peinture exposés au profit de la colonisation de l'Algérie par les Alsaciens-Lorrains," April 23–?, 1874, no. 231 (lent by M. Wilson).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 11–November 2, 1930, no. 69 [2nd ed., 1958, no. 13].

Detroit Institute of Arts. "Fifty Paintings by Frans Hals," January 10–February 28, 1935, no. 6.

Richmond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. September 10–October 12, 1947, no catalogue?

Palm Beach. Society of the Four Arts. "European Masters of the XVII and XVIII Centuries," January 13–February 5, 1950, no. 3.

Des Moines Art Center. "Masterpieces of Portrait and Figure Painting," November 5, 1952–February 1, 1953, no catalogue.

Pensacola, Fla. Pensacola Art Center. "Opening exhibition," October 26–November 30, 1955, no catalogue.

Jacksonville, Fla. Jacksonville Art Museum. December 15, 1955–January 30, 1956, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Dutch Couples: Pair Portraits by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries," January 23–March 5, 1973, no. 4 (with MMA 29.100.9).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A320.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Frans Hals in the Metropolitan Museum," July 26–October 10, 2011, no catalogue.

Charles Tardieu. "Les grandes collections étrangères II: M. John W. Wilson (1er article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 2nd ser., 8 (September 1873), p. 219.

Paul Eudel. L'Hôtel Drouot en 1881. Paris, 1882, p. 72, mistakenly lists the Berlin museum as the buyer at the Wilson sale and gives the purchase price as 80,000 francs for the pair.

Wilhelm [von] Bode. Studien zur Geschichte der holländischen Malerei. Braunschweig, 1883, pp. 55, 84, no. 65, as in the Secrétan collection.

D[aniel]. Franken and J[ohan]. Ph[illip]. van der Kellen. L'œuvre de Jan van de Velde. Amsterdam, 1883, p. 37, under no. 33 [2nd ed., "L'oeuvre de Jan van de Velde: graveur hollandais, 1593–1641, avec additions et corrections par Simon Laschitzer," Amsterdam: G. W. Hissink & Co., 1968, p. 37, under no. 33], lists three states of the engraving by Jan van de Velde after this painting.

E. W. Moes. Iconographia Batava: Beredeneerde Lijst van Geschilderde en Gebeeldhouwde Portretten van Noord-Nederlanders in Vorige Eeuwen. Vol. 2, Amsterdam, 1905, p. 370, no. 7130-2, as formerly in the collection of M. J. Caan van Maurik, Oudewater; identifies it with the portrait of Scriverius mentioned by Aernout van Buchell in 1628 as in the collection of Theodorus Schrevelius in Leiden [published in G. van Ryn, "Arent van Buchel's Res Pictoriæ, Aanteekeningen Betreffende Kunst en Kunstenaars," Oud-Holland 5 (1887), p. 151]; lists another portrait of Scriverius by Hals of 1613 in the Warneck collection, Paris.

C[ornelis]. Hofstede de Groot. Die Urkunden über Rembrandt (1575–1721). The Hague, 1906, pp. 9–10, under no. 14, identifies it with the portrait in the collection of Theodorus Schrevelius in 1628 [see Ref. Moes 1905].

E[rnst]. W[ilhelm]. Moes. Frans Hals, sa vie et son œuvre. Brussels, 1909, p. 32, 103, no. 72.

Cornelis Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. Ed. Edward G. Hawke. Vol. 3, London, 1910, pp. 67–68, no. 224.

H. Mireur. Dictionnaire des ventes d'art . . . Vol. 3, Paris, 1911, pp. 405–6.

Joséphin Péladan. Frans Hals, 1580(?)–1666. Paris, 1912, ill. opp. p. 50, as "Un homme".

Wilhelm von Bode, ed. Frans Hals: His Life and Work. Berlin, 1914, vol. 1, p. 39, no. 106, pl. 57A.

Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Frans Hals, des meisters Gemälde. 2nd ed. Stuttgart, 1923, pp. 306, 309, ill. p. 50, states that the two portraits were obviously made as models for engravings.

Dorothy Lefferts Moore et al. "In the Galleries." The Arts 16 (March 1930), ill. p. 502.

Frank Jewett Mather Jr. "The Havemeyer Pictures." The Arts 16 (March 1930), p. 462.

H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, pp. 16–17, ill., adds Étienne Le Roy to the provenance.

W. R. Valentiner. An Exhibition of Fifty Paintings by Frans Hals. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1935, unpaginated, no. 6, ill., notes that this picture and its pendant are "perhaps the earliest pictures by Frans Hals to come to America".

W. R. Valentiner. Frans Hals Paintings in America. Westport, Conn., 1936, pp. 8–9, no. 17, ill. [cat. section unpaginated].

Kurt Bauch. Der frühe Rembrandt und seine Zeit. Berlin, 1960, p. 40, fig. 26.

Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961, p. 20.

Jakob Rosenberg and Seymour Slive in Dutch Art and Architecture: 1600 to 1800. Baltimore, 1966, p. 42.

Seymour Slive. Frans Hals. Vol. 1, Text. London, 1970, pp. 58–59, 77, questions whether this portrait is the one mentioned by Van Buchell in 1628 [see Ref. Moes 1905].

Seymour Slive. Frans Hals. Vol. 2, Plates. London, 1970, pl. 60.

Claus Grimm. Frans Hals: Entwicklung, Werkanalyse, Gesamtkatalog. Berlin, 1972, pp. 29, 63, 200, no. A9, considers the two pendants to be copies.

Jakob Rosenberg and Seymour Slive in Dutch Art and Architecture: 1600 to 1800. rev. ed. Harmondsworth, England, 1972, p. 66.

Seymour Slive. Frans Hals. Vol. 3, Catalogue. London, 1974, pp. 22–23, 35, no. 36, calls it a modello for a print; states that the two pendants may have been in the collection of Theodorus Schrevelius in Leiden in 1628 [see Ref. Moes 1905].

E. C. Montagni in L'opera completa di Frans Hals. Milan, 1974, p. 92, under no. 45, fig. 45a.

R[udolf]. E. O. Ekkart in Geschildert tot Leyden anno 1626. Exh. cat., Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal. Leiden, 1976, pp. 35, 39 n. 1, fig. a.

Maarten L. Wurfbain. "'The Man with the Beard': A Portrait of Petrus Scriverius?" Quærendo 7, no. 2 (1977), p. 111, argues that a portrait by Bartholomeus van der Helst in the Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden, depicts Scriverius.

Gary Schwartz. Rembrandt, His Life, His Paintings. New York, 1985, pp. 25, 45.

Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, pp. 58, 77, 158, 254, ill. p. 74 (photograph from Havemeyer house).

Peter C. Sutton. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Grand Rapids, Mich., 1986, pp. 183–84.

Lawrence W. Nichols. "Jan Govertsz. van der Aar: On the Identification of Goltzius's Patron." Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 38 (1987), pp. 245, 252 n. 23.

Seymour Slive in Frans Hals. Ed. Seymour Slive. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington. London, 1989, pp. 142, 185, 189, 202, ill. p. 186 (color).

Karin Groen and Ella Hendriks in Frans Hals. Ed. Seymour Slive. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington. London, 1989, pp. 111, 115, 120, 124.

Irene van Thiel-Stroman in Frans Hals. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington. London, 1989, p. 383, doc. 42, p. 409, doc. 166.

Walter Liedtke. "Dutch Paintings in America: The Collectors and Their Ideals." Great Dutch Paintings from America. Exh. cat., Mauritshuis, The Hague. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1990, p. 46.

Claus Grimm. Frans Hals: The Complete Work. New York, 1990, pp. 34, 53, 234, 291–92, no. C7, figs. 49a, 123a (detail), colorpl. 97 (detail) [German ed., "Frans Hals: Das Gesamtwerk," Stuttgart, 1989, pp. 34, 53, 234, 284–85, no. K7, figs. 49a, 123a (detail), colorpl. 97 (detail)].

Peter [C.] Sutton. "Washington and London: Frans Hals." Burlington Magazine 132 (January 1990), p. 68.

Barbara Welzel in Rembrandt: The Master & His Workshop. Ed. Sally Salvesen. Exh. cat., Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Vol. 2, "Drawings & Etchings."New Haven, 1991, pp. 228, 230 n. 12.

P. J. M. de Baar and Ingrid W. L. Moerman in Rembrandt & Lievens in Leiden: "een jong en edel schildersduo". Exh. cat., Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal te Leiden. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1991, p. 37.

Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. Ed. Susan Alyson Stein. 3rd ed. [1st ed. 1930, repr. 1961]. New York, 1993, pp. 20, 310 n. 38.

Susan Alyson Stein in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 209.

Walter A. Liedtke in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 65, pl. 64.

Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen. Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, fig. 30 (photograph of the Havemeyers' Rembrandt room).

Gretchen Wold in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 348–49, no. A320, ill.

Seymour Slive. Dutch Painting 1600–1800. New Haven, 1995, p. 45.

Ute Kleinmann. Rahmen und Gerahmtes: Das Spiel mit Darstellung und Bedeutung. PhD diss., Universität Bochum. Frankfurt am Main, 1996, p. 73, fig. 31.

Dedalo Carasso. "Duitse en Franse Denkers over de Zeventiende-Eeuwse Hollandse Schilderkunst, Circa 1775–1860." In de Ban van het Beeld: Opstellen over Geschiedenis en Kunst. Hilversum, The Netherlands, 1998, fig. 17, illustrates it as an example of Hals's work, which Thoré made world-famous.

Simon Schama. Rembrandt's Eyes. New York, 1999, p. 714 n. 2, mistakenly dates it 1625.

J. Richard Judson and Rudolf E. O. Ekkart. Gerrit van Honthorst, 1592–1656. Doornspijk, The Netherlands, 1999, p. 189, under no. 240.

Ernst van de Wetering in The Mystery of the Young Rembrandt. Exh. cat., Staatliche Museen Kassel. Wolfratshausen, Germany, 2001, p. 29, fig. 9 (detail).

Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. in Deceptions and Illusions: Five Centuries of Trompe l'Oeil Painting. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2002, p. 79, fig. 2 (color).

Esmée Quodbach. "'Rembrandt's "Gilder" is here': How America Got its First Rembrandt and France Lost Many of its Old Masters." Simiolus 31, no. 1/2 (2004), p. 99, fig. 7 (photograph of Havemeyer library).

Inger Krog in Rembrandt? The Master and His Workshop. Exh. cat., Statens Museum for Kunst. [Copenhagen], 2006, p. 290 n. 7, under no. 28.

Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 15, 18, 70, fig. 15 (Havemeyer library photograph).

Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. ix, 256 n. 3, p. 268 n. 5, pp. 274–84, no. 63, colorpl. 63.

Dagmar Hirschfelder. Tronie und Porträt in der niederländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts. Berlin, 2008, pp. 88, 410, no. 206.

Thijs Weststeijn in Celebrating in the Golden Age. Ed. Anna Tummers. Exh. cat., Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem. Rotterdam, 2011, p. 22, fig. 4 (color).

Dennis P. Weller. Small Treasures: Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, and Their Contemporaries. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. Raleigh, 2014, p. 103 n. 1, under no. 15, pp. 106–7 n. 4, fig. 1 (color), under no. 16.