Martin Mijtens the Elder
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Peter Martin Mijtens the Elder, also spelled Meytens or Mytens (1648, The Hague - 1736, Stockholm) was a Dutch painter who worked in Sweden. His father, Isaac (1602-1666), and son, Martin, known as "The Younger", were also painters, as were his uncle Daniel, and his cousins Daniel, the Younger and Johannes.
He went to Stockholm with his older brother Dietrich around 1677, and his portraits were well received so, in 1681, he decided to stay and shortly after, was married. His earliest works were very simple, compared with David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl, the most popular portrait painter at that time. To maintain his clientele, Mijtens' works gradually became more colorful and dramatic, although it has been said that he sacrificed character.
Many of his paintings were left unsigned, which has often led to them being confused with Ehrenstrahl's work, although certain small stylistic differences can be perceived. Despite the competition from Ehrenstrahl and his nephew David von Krafft (both of whom became court painters), he earned a sufficient income to amass a significant art collection. He had several students, including Georg Desmarées and Lucas von Breda. He also trained his son, who later went to Vienna and adopted the name "Van Meytens".
He apparently suffered from some sort of senility or insanity in his later years. After his death, his collection was sold to Count Gustav Adolf von Gotter, a Prussian diplomat. Later, much of it came into the possession of Charles Eugene, Duke of Württemberg.
Posthumous criticism was harsh. Carl Gustaf Tessin called him "an old paint-spoiler" (färgskämmare). He was essentially forgotten until 1841, when his work was reevaluated by Nils Arfwidsson, a literary and art critic who wrote about him in Frey, a magazine devoted to the arts and sciences.
- Brief biography @ Adelsvapen Genealogi.
- Boo von Malmborg, Martin van Meytens d.a. - En konstnär från Sveriges storhetstid (an artist from Sweden's days of glory) Malmö, Allhems förlag (1961)
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- Self-portrait of Mijtens @ the Östergötlands County Museum.