Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Willem Lodewijk, Count of Nassau Dillenburg (1560-1620) 

Studio of Michiel Jansz Van Miereveld (1567-1641)

Willem Lodewijk, Count of Nassau Dillenburg (1560-1620), Studio of Michiel Jansz Van Miereveld
Oil on Panel
16th Century
24 x 19 ½ inches, 70 x 49.5 cm
Michiel Van Miereveld was one of the most successful and talented portraitists operating in Holland in the early seventeenth century. In 1607 he was appointed official artist at the Stadholder court, and was responsible for the majority of portraits of the House of Orange Nassau, including Prince Maurice and his brother Fredrik Hendrik. Miereveld is perhaps best known in England for his portraits of Elizabeth of Bohemia, the winter Queen whose likeness he took whilst in exile in the Netherlands. Such was the demand for Miereveld’s work, with his exact likenesses and attention to detail in the costume and jewellery, that he constructed a large studio practice, in which both his sons, Jan and Pieter, were employed. They may be the authors of this work, which would have been done in the studio under Miereveld’s supervision.

This portrait shows Willem Ludwijk, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, a leading member of the Dutch aristocracy in their fight against Spanish rule in the Netherlands. Willem, the cousin of Maurice of Nassau and Fredrik Hendrik, was the eldest son of John VI, Count of Nassau Dillenberg. He became known in Holland as “Us Heit”, or “Our Father”, after becoming one of the most prominent Dutch heroes during the Revolt of the Netherlands in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. He served in the cavalry under the William of Orange, and, with Maurice, developed the successful military strategy that led to the eventual Spanish Habsburg defeat.
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