Portrait of a Woman in an Armchair
Oil on canvas
Inv. No. 703
98 × 80.3 cm
The citizens of mid-seventeenth-century Haarlem had another talented portrait painter at their disposal besides Frans Hals: Verspronck. The oblique view and the direction of the lady’s gaze lend her portrait spontaneity; she seems to be sitting up and leaning towards us, illuminated by a strong light indicated on the wall that forms a uniform backdrop to the scene. Her elaborate collar and transparent bonnet, lace cuffs and inconspicuously worn – but very well-wrought – jewellery quietly call attention to the patrician sitter’s wealth. The portrait thus perfectly fulfils the function it holds in the Dutch society of the time: to indicate the status of the person portrayed.