Focusing on the interrelationship between Jacob van Loo's art, honor, and career, this book argues that Van Loo's lifelong success and unblemished reputation were by no means incompatible, as art historians have long assumed, with his specialization in painting nudes and his conviction for manslaughter. Van Loo's iconographic specialty - the nude - allowed his clientele to present themselves as judges of beauty and display their mastery of decorum, while his portraiture perfectly expressed his clients' social and political ambitions. Van Loo's honor explains why his success lasted a lifetime, whereas that of Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Vermeer did not. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this book reinterprets the manslaughter case as a sign that Van Loo's elite patrons recognized him as a gentleman and highly-esteemed artist.
Judith Noorman is an Art Historian at the University of Amsterdam. In 2016 she guest curated the exhibition Rembrandt’s Naked Truth. Drawing Nude Models in the Golden Age (Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam).