ANTHONIE PALAMEDESZ., called STEVERS
(Delft 1600/1 - 1673 Amsterdam)
A Guardroom Interior
signed on the chimney: Palamedes
oil on panel, 11 ¾ x 14 7/8 inches (29.8 x 37.8 cm.)
Anonymous sale, London, Philips, 16 July 1985, lot 84 (as a Follower of Anthonie Palamedes); Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s, 3 December 1997, lot 1.
P. Sutton, Otto Naumann Ltd., Old Master Paintings, New York 1999, pp. 68-9, cat. No. 23, reproduced in color;
W. Liedke (ed.), Vermeer and the Delft School, exhibition catalogue, New York, 2001, pp. 267-8, reproduced, fig. 249.
Shortly after his birth, Palamedesz.’s father, a lapidary, is recorded in the service of James I of England, and it is believed that the artist’s younger brother, the painter Palamedes Palamedesz. (1607-1638), was born there. Anthonie was apprenticed to the portrait and court painter Michiel van Mierevelt (1567 – 1641) in Delft and on December 6, 1621, he was admitted to the city’s Guild of St. Luke. In 1635, 1658, 1663 and 1672, he served as a ‘hoofdman’ (leader).
During much of the seventeenth century the Netherlands was at war. Although the Twelve Years Truce (1609-1621) provided a brief respite, at its end the fighting was vigorously renewed. Much of the combat occurred along the southern borders and in the eastern provinces, but all of Holland’s major cities housed garrisons of troops and the military was a constant feature of daily life. While Flemish painters like Pieter Snayers and Sebastian Vranx depicted battles and cavalry skirmishes, Dutch artists more typically portrayed quiet guardroom scenes. In fact, actual warfare was a rare or unknown experience for the majority of Dutch painters living up in the artistic centers of the Maritime Provinces. Many seventeenth-century Dutch painters, including Pieter Potter, Jan Olis, Pieter Quast and Anthonie Palamedesz, depicted guardroom scenes similar to the present painting.