Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck: Portrait of Andries Stilte as standard-bearer of the Cluveniers Civic Guard of Haarlem (1640)

(National Gallery of Art, Washington, USA)

A very colorful portrait by Verspronck. The sitter is Andries Stilte, a wealthy merchant from Haarlem and owner of the country seat 'Duin en Vaart'. Andries Stilte was elected as standard-bearer in the Cluveniers (musket bearers) Civic Guard of Haarlem in 1639. According to the rules of the civic guard, a standard bearer had to be single. Andries married in 1640 with Eva Reyniers so he had to leave his post. This portrait was probably commissioned by Andries to commemorate his period as standard-bearer - a highly prestigious post within a civic guard. Formal military uniforms didn't exist in the 17th century so the clothes Andries is wearing reflects his own personal taste. The lace collar, the ribbons at the bottom of his sleeves and the bright colors of his clothes show that Andries is following the French fashion. The color of his sash and ostrich feathers on his hat reflect the civic guard company he is serving in. Interestingly, Andries was included in a painting from Pieter Claesz. Soutman which depict the officers of the Cluveniers Civic Guard of Haarlem in the period 1639-1642 (even though Andries retired in 1640 from the company). On the painting from Soutman, Andries Stilte is shown wearing exactly the same clothes as on this painting so probably Soutman used this portrait as an inspiration. This painting is from 1640.