Cornelis van der Geest

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Portrait of Cornelis van der Geest by Anthony van Dyck, before 1620, now in the National Gallery

Cornelis van der Geest (1575 – 10 March 1638) was a spice merchant from Antwerp, who used his wealth to support the Antwerp artists and to establish his art collection. He was also the dean of the haberdashers guild.[1]

Art collection[edit]

He is best known today for his art collection.[2] He was portrayed repeatedly by Anthony van Dyck, while Willem van Haecht, who he had hired as curator, painted his "constcammer" several times, including a view of the visit of Albert VII, Archduke of Austria and Isabella Clara Eugenia to his art collection.

He owned two paintings by Quentin Matsys, one of which, a Madonna, can be seen in the Van Haecht painting. Other works included in that view are Women at her toilet by Jan van Eyck, a still life by Frans Snyders, Ceres Mocked by Adam Elsheimer, Danaë by Van Haecht, Battle of the Amazons and a portrait by Peter Paul Rubens, Peasant Company with Woman making Pancakes by Pieter Aertsen, Apelles by Jan Wierix and a hunting scene by Jan Wildens. The painting also shows some of Van der Geest's sculptures, with copies of the Venus de' Medici, the Farnese Hercules, and the Apollo Belvedere.[3]

Paintings by Willem van Haecht of his art gallery:

Paintings hanging in his art gallery followed by the numbers of the five gallery paintings above:


1620 skull plaque financed by Van der Geest for Quentin Metsys

Van der Geest also functioned as a maecenas. He arranged for Rubens to get the order for a triptych for the Saint Walpurga church in Antwerp, which resulted in the Elevation of the Cross, now in the Cathedral of Antwerp.[4] Similarly, the order for the 1630-1632 Triptych of Saint Ildephonsus, intended for the Saint James church, but now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, was given to Rubens through the influence of Van der Geest.[1] Van der Geest also financed a new memorial for Quentin Metsys against the tower of the Antwerp Cathedral.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Giorgi, Rosa (2008). European art of the seventeenth century. Getty Publications. p. 383. ISBN 978-0-89236-934-8.
  2. ^ "Kamers vol kunst in 17de eeuws Antwerpen". Rubenshuis. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  3. ^ Sutherland Harris, Ann (2005). Seventeenth-century art & architecture. Laurence King Publishing. p. 426. ISBN 978-1-85669-415-5.
  4. ^ Timmermans, Bert (2008). Patronen van patronage in het zeventiende-eeuwse Antwerpen (in Dutch). Amsterdam University Press. p. 250. ISBN 978-90-5260-247-9. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  5. ^ Geschiedenis der Antwerpsche rederykkamers, chapter 1, Geschiedenis der violieren, by J. B. Van Der Staelen, 1834

External links[edit]