CORNELIS TROOST (Amsterdam 1696 – 1750 Amsterdam)

Cornelis Troost

Cornelis Troost (Amsterdam 1696 – 1750 Amsterdam)

Portrait of a Lady in a Painted Oval

Oil on canvas, 49.5 x 40 cm (19.5 x 15.7 inch)

Signed and dated ‘C. Troost / 1725’ (lower right)

Private collection, Italy


Cornelis Troost was born in Amsterdam as the son of a bookkeeper.1 His early years were spent as an actor, following in the footsteps of his mother, who also worked in the theatre. From 1719 to 1724 he acted at the Amsterdam ‘Schouwburg’, but from 1723 he also started following lessons in painting with Arnold Boonen, Amsterdam’s leading portrait painter.

Troost proved to be highly talented as a painter and today ranks among the finest artists that the Dutch eighteenth century produced. He initially painted mostly portraits of the town’s elite, and later also specialised in theatre and genre scenes and military subjects. Troost remained living in Amsterdam his whole life, and was buried in the Nieuwe Kerk on Dam Square in 1750. His works are preserved in some of the world’s leading museums, including the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Mauritshuis in The Hague and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

This vivacious portrait of 1725 was painted right at the outset of Troost’s artistic career, and shows his great talent. Executed with ease, enthusiasm and spontaneity, it shows why Troost instantly became one of Amsterdam’s favoured painters. In fact already in 1724 he landed the lucrative and prestigious commission to paint the members of the Collegium Medicum, now in the Amsterdam Museum in Amsterdam.2

The loose handling of the brush, especially in the embroidered decoration of the lady’s extravagant dress, is particularly noteworthy and more reminiscent of the best painters of the seventeenth century, rather than that of his own times. The present canvas can be compared to a portrait of Maria Magdalena Stavenisse (1700–1783) in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, dated 1726 (fig.).3

A beautiful gouache by Troost sold by our gallery can be found here and another fine portrait here.


1. For the artist, see J.W. Niemeijer, Cornelis Troost 1696-1750, Assen 1973.
2. Oil on canvas, 239 x 306 cm, inv. no. A 7411; A. Blankert, Amsterdams Historisch Museum, Schilderijen daterend van voor 1800, Amsterdam 1975/1979, p. 316 no. 440.
3. Oil on canvas, 56 x 45 cm, inv. no. SK-A-2078; P.J.J. van Thiel, All the paintings of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Amsterdam 1976, p. 545, nr. A2078. The portrait is currently on loan to Museum Beeckesteyn in Velsen.