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Art, Honor and Success in The Dutch Republic

The Life and Career of Jacob van Loo

Judith Noorman

312 pages
Amsterdam University Press
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.
Author Bio
Judith Noorman is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Amsterdam and leads the Dutch Research Council project The Female Impact, 2021-2026. As Director of the Amsterdam Centre for Studies in Early Modernity, she has organized the Object Colloquia Series, which laid the foundation for this book.