Pieter van Ruijven

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Johannes Vermeer, View of Delft (1660-61), oil on canvas, 96.5 × 117.5 cm; a painting once owned by Van Ruijven

Pieter Claesz. van Ruijven (Delft, 1624 - Delft, August 7, 1674) is best known as Johannes Vermeer's patron for the better part of the artist's career. His daughter, Magdalena, had 20 of Vermeer's works in her estate at her death; most likely inherited from her father.[1]

In 1657, he lent Vermeer 200 guilders. It is not known if he had any trade or profession.[2] Like his father, he worked for the city institution, the Camer van Charitate (1668–1672).

In 1653, he married Maria de Knuijt. The couple had one daughter named Magdalena, born in 1655. In 1680, Magdalena van Ruijven married Jacob Abrahamsz Dissius, a bookbinder. His father owned a printing press on the Market square, close to Maria Thins.

Magdalena van Ruijven died in 1682, one year after her mother. Her spouse inherited most of her wealth, including 20 paintings by Vermeer. In 1683, the estate was divided by Dissius and his father.[3] In 1694 Abraham Dissius was buried, his son Jacob died the year after.

On May 16, 1696, twenty-one paintings by Vermeer were sold in an auction in Amsterdam.[4] These paintings brought a total of 1,503 guilders, about seventy guilders each. It is presumed the paintings had belonged to the Van Ruijvens, who had built up a large collection of paintings by Vermeer, three by Emanuel de Witte, four by Simon de Vlieger and one by Jan Porcellis.

He is portrayed by Tom Wilkinson in the 2003 film Girl with a Pearl Earring, in which he is depicted as a predatory lecher.


  1. ^ Montias, John Michael (March 1987). "Vermeer's Clients and Patrons". The Art Bulletin 69 (1): 68–76. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  2. ^ His grandfather owned a brewery and had Remonstrant sympathies.
  3. ^ J.M. Montias (1989) Vermeer and his milieu, A web of social history, p. 254, 360.
  4. ^ Catalogus of naamlyst van schilderyen, met derzelver prysen, zedert ... 1752. tot ... 1768. ... openbaar verkogt. : Dienende tot een vervolg ... op de ... cataloguen door Gerard Hoet .../ Uitgegeeven door Pieter Terwesten, 1770, p. 34-36; J.M. Montias (1989) Vermeer and his milieu. p. 363-364.

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