Caspar Netscher: Portrait of Coenraad van Beuningen, Dutch diplomat and politician (1673)

(Amsterdam Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Coenraad van Beuningen was a Dutch regent during the 17th century. He was mayor of Amsterdam for 5 times, represented the Netherlands during several diplomatic missions and was a director of the V.O.C. (Dutch East India Company). A very wealthy person, he lost almost his entire fortune through speculation in V.O.C. shares. His bad marriage, a troublesome relation with the Stadtholder Prince William III of Orange (who became King William III of King of England, Scotland and Ireland) and having lost his fortune he went insane. He started preaching about the coming apocalypse and painted inscriptions on his house in Amsterdam with his own blood (which are still visible today). He was put under custodial care by his colleagues and was put in chains. He died in complete poverty on 26 October 1693, leaving ‘a cape and two dressing gowns,’ a bed, some chairs, a desk, an oval shaped mirror, four old taborets and ‘a man’s portrait’ by Rembrandt valued at seven guilders (three dollars). His house in Amsterdam (Amstel 216) still stands today and is called 'the house with the bloodstains'. This portrait from Coenraad was made in better times in 1673.

Comments