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    Frans Pourbus II (1569 – 1622) – Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua (1562 – 1612)

    The Weiss Gallery, London, will bring this arresting 1602 portrait by Frans Pourbos to TEFAF Maasticht which runs from June 25-30. The artist, arguably the most sought-after court portrait painter throughout western Europe during the first decades of the seventeenth century, here depicts his greatest patron, Vincenzo Gonzaga, the Duke of Mantua, in an imperial manner appropriate for a revered European prince. The Duke proudly wears the prestigious Order of the Golden Fleece, which was conferred to him by Philip II of Spain in 1589.

    Under Vincenzo’s reign, the ducal household comprised of more than six hundred people and it was famously extravagant, not least for the art collection amassed by the duke and his forebears. Between 1627 and 1630 a part of the collection was sold to King Charles I – much of these purchases remain key pieces from the British Royal Collection – while the rest was to be scattered following the sacking of the ducal palace in 1630 by imperial troops during a dispute over the Gonzaga succession. At one time the collection consisted of well over 2,000 paintings and more than 20,000 works of art, including bronzes, marbles, medals, coins, armour, ceramics, as well as rare manuscripts and books, making the Gonzaga collection one of the greatest ever amassed.

    Frans Pourbus II was born in Antwerp and naturalised French in 1617. He was the most influential court painter of the late-sixteenth and early- seventeenth centuries.

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