Ferdinand Bol – Portrait of Elisabeth Bas

By | November 14, 2017

Ferdinand Bol – Portrait of Elisabeth Bas

Ferdinand Bol (attr. to) Portrait of a great character, probably Elisabeth Bas – around 1642 – Original: Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Netherlands

Reproductions (Oil paintings) by Art OysterCutler Miles, and Elite-Paintings read more below

The tavern, wines, nudes, and cigars

The portrait

Ferdinand Bol’s fame is in the portraits he painted, and one of his most famous portraits is that of a lady, likely Elisabeth Bas, who was a remarkable character and a highly respected lady in the Amsterdam of the first half 17th century. The portrait was painted around 1642 and has been attributed to Bol instead of Rembrandt since 1911, but the debate still continues.

By the time Elisabeth Bas sat for her portrait, commissioned from Ferdinand Bol by her granddaughter Maria Rey, she had seen quite a lot in life.
She was born in the city of Kampen in 1571, from presumably quite well-to-do parents and had a brother Lubbert.
She had been the wife of vice-admiral Jochem Swartenhondt, who sailed to the West-Indies and Brazil. We know from a notarial act that in 1602 Elisabeth ordered 3000 loafs of bread from her brother Lubbert, who had become a baker in Amsterdam, for the provision of her husband’s ships, a common business at the time.
When the 12 Year Truce put Jochem out of his job with the Dutch navy, the couple did run the very well-known elegant tavern “Prince van Orangien” in Amsterdam, popular with artists and politicians. After her husband died in 1627, Elisabeth continued to run the tavern until 1630 or 1631, after which she sold the business for a fortune and raised her daughter Maria’s 3 young children.
Maria was one of three of Elisabeth’s children, who had died before her death in 1649.

And now look at the portrait again.

The best reproduction is by Art Oyster(Art MegaMart)

Ferdinand Bol

Two self-portraits by Ferdinand Bol
left 1648 Original: TheLeidenCollection – New York
and right c. 1669 Original: Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Ferdinand Bol was born in Dordrecht in 1616, as the son of a surgeon, where he was a pupil of the painter Jacob Cuyp and later of Abraham Bloemaert in Utrecht. The very talented Ferdinand went to study and live with Rembrandt in Amsterdam in the years after 1630 for a period of 4 years. By that time the painter Govert Flinck had already left Rembrandt’s atelier and the two are regarded as Rembrandts most talented and successful pupils. They were both very competitive and even more successful in their lifetime than their master Rembrandt had ever been.

The fabulous portrait from around 1638 of Rembrandt and his wife Saskia is believed to be painted by Ferdinand Bol. It is part of The Royal Collection Trust of Queen Elisabeth in Hampton Court Palace in the UK.

Ferdinand Bols first wife was Elisabeth Dell, whose father was in the Admiralty of Amsterdam and held a position in the Wine Makers Guild and Ferdinand was commissioned several works for both institutions, which obviously helped his popularity, as he was overloaded with official commissions around 1655, when he had the honour to become head of the Saint Luke Guild, together with the art dealer and painter David Colijns.
In 1658 he admitted, together with 3 other painters (one of them being Govert Flinck), the trespassing of the illegal activity of having drawn nude models.

His first wife passed away in 1660, just days after their son Balthasar was born, He remarried the Admiralty treasurers widow, the wealthy society lady Anna van Erckel in 1669, who together with her first husband had sat for their portrait with Ferdinand around 1648.  They went to live at where is today’s Museum Van Loon, at Keizersgracht no. 672.
W know from the wedding settlement that Ferdinand was very well off, but that his wife Anna’s assets were threefold in value. He seems to have stopped painting shortly after their marriage.

Anna van Erckel died in April 1680, Ferdinand died a couple of months later that year in his son’s house at Herengracht.


A cigar factory in the city of Boxtel started to manufacture cigars named “Elisabeth Bas” from 1932 onwards, which made the name Elisabeth Bas into a household name, and her portrait painted by Ferdinand Bol, displayed on cigar boxes and cigar bands became very well-known with the larger public again.

Think of Elisabeth Bas if you want a fabulous Dutch Masters 17th century portrait of a character on your wall!

Reproductions on Amazon

These are reproductions by Cutler Miles, Art Oyster(Art MegaMart) and Elite-Paintings are of high quality.

The middle one is the best reproduction by Art Oyster(Art MegaMart), it is very detailed and the colour of the skin is sublime and close to the original!

And beer and snacks

One of the more important radial streets going south from the center of Amsterdam is the Ferdinand Bolstraat, named after Ferdinand Bol in 1872. Most side streets in the area, constructed around 1870, carry the names of painters from the Dutch Golden Age.
The area was constructed in the last decades of the 19th century. The founder of Heineken Breweries, Gerard Heineken owned a villa nearby and the Heineken Brewery has dominated the area pretty much during the whole 20th century until Heineken brewery was moved outside Amsterdam only in 1988.

From 1941 onwards an Amsterdam bakery named Maison FeBo (after the Ferdinand Bolstraat) started to create specialty snacks and fast food.
Since the company has grown into a famous chain of fast food snack counters all over the Netherlands. It is still called Febo.

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