This portrait ofJohan Maurits(1604 – 1679) is displayed in his once opulent home inHolland. A house that over the centuries has been transformed into one of the most interesting museums in Europe: the Mauritshuis in The Hague. An institution that shows masterpieces of art in the Netherlands such as the Anatomy Lesson painted by Rembrandt or the emblematic Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer.
Portrait of Johan Maurits
No doubt the name ofMauritsis linked to art, but it's fair to say that his life was by no means a work of art. And that is something that they have also been concerned with showing in the museum in recent years and making the personality of this historical figure known.
Johan Maurits was of German origin, but was related to the Nassau and Orange dynasty that ruled the kingdom of the Netherlands. So he soon joined his army, and given his leadership skills, his impetus and also his relations with the ruling house, he was sent to Dutch Brazil, specifically to the area of Recifewhere he started various plantations, modernized life there, increased the domains of the West India Company, and above all became one of the great promoters of slavery in the epoch. It is estimated that during his mandate in Brazil between the years 1636 and 1644 he broughtthousands and thousands of African slaves to the American continent.
Of course he made an immense fortune, and although on the other hand we must recognize that he was always a tolerant man regarding religions, the truth is that his colonialist and slave-owning attitude made him very rich. And he could have been more, since he had great plans for the area, but as other powerful men the West India Company did not let him develop them, he decided to return to Europe.
On the Old Continent he ruled various territories inGermanyand remained an active commander in the Dutch army. But above all, he had the magnificentMauritshuisbuilt in the heart ofThe Hague
There is shown this canvas with his portrait. The only painting with his effigy that the museum owns. And the truth is that the portrait is the image that he himself had of himself. A rich man, a true military man and also a decorated politician. A man who at 65 was a character with a lot of power.