In this painting, a bourgeois gentleman is portrayed together with his young wife in front of a red drapery and an imposing pillar. The woman’s classy lace cuffs, gold brocade and gold-embroidered lace gloves can be seen as material symbols that help highlight the couple’s high societal status.
Ruffs were a popular clothing item among the upper classes in the Southern Netherlands. It is likely that this couple were members of Antwerp’s wealthy bourgeoisie. Based on their age and the finely embroidered gloves, this is in all likelihood a wedding portrait.
About the artist:
De Vos earned his living painting portraits of the wealthy bourgeoisie. This was the primary genre he practiced and the one he is today best known for. In terms of style and composition, he was particularly inspired by contemporary Baroque artists such as Rubens and van Dyck, but he himself was not an innovator within painting. Although de Vos’ work belongs to the more factual and conservative side of the Dutch Baroque, he was a very popular and frequently employed portrait painter in his time. He specialised in large family portraits, and he was able to create a name for himself on equal footing with other great artists of the period in the Netherlands.