Bartholomeus van der Helst: Portrait of Andries & Gerard Bicker (1642)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Two paintings by the Dutch master Bartholomeus van der Helst (1613-1670). These two paintings are not a set (although they are father and son they were not created at the same time) but as they usually are shown together i present them also together. 

The painting on the left is that of Andries Gerritsz. Bicker (1586-1652), son of Gerrit Pietersz Bicker (1554-1604). Andries was Lord of Engelenburg, merchant on Moscovia (Russia), representative of the Dutch parlement ('the Staten-Generaal'), colonel in the Civic guard of Amsterdam, member of the city council of Amsterdam, 10 times mayor of Amsterdam, leader of the Arminians, Dutch ambassador to the Scandanavian countries, Poland and Brandenburg, member of the board-of-directors of the V.O.C. (Dutch East India company) - together with the rest of the Bicker family and the related De Graeff family he effectivly ruled Amsterdam and with that the Netherlands for about 50 years. When the Dutch war of independence (1568-1648) ended he came into conflict with the stadholder prince William II of Orange. Andries wanted to disband the Dutch army as the war was over, something William II was opposed to (the conflict was about who was in control of the Netherlands). William II gathered an army and marched upon Amsterdam to take the city by force. Andries was warned by his son Gerard and closed the city to prince William II. In the treaty it was agreed that Andries bicker and his brother Cornelis Gerritsz Bicker van Swieten (mayor of Amsterdam) should leave their posts but Willaim II died several weeks later of smallpox. Andries was married with Trijntje Jans Tengnagel (her portrait is the opposing painting of this portrait) and got 5 children. Painting from 1642.

The painting on the right is that of Gerard Andriesz. Bicker (1622 - 1666), son of Andries Gerritsz. Bicker (1586-1652). Gerard succceded his father as Lord of Engelenburg and was high bailiff of Muiden, a ceremonial post he got from stadtholder prince William II of Orange who wanted to appease his father Andries. As influential his father father Andries was, as ineffective Gerard was. The most effective action which Gerard took was warning his father Andries that stadtholder prince William II of Orange was marching to amsterdam with an army. Gerard was married with Alida Coninck but the marriage was  unhappy and cancelled (according to the rumours at the request of Alida). Painting from 1642.

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