Nicolaes Maes, also known as Nicolaes Maas (January 1634 – November 24, 1693 (buried)) was a Dutch Golden Age painter of genre and portraits.
Maes was born in Dordrecht, the son of Gerrit Maes, a prosperous merchant, and Ida Herman Claesdr. In about 1648 he went to Amsterdam, where he entered Rembrandt's studio. Before his return to Dordrecht in 1653 Maes painted a few Rembrandtesque genre pictures, with life-size figures and in a deep glowing scheme of colour, like the Reverie at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Card Players at the National Gallery, and the Children with a Goat Carriage. So closely did his early style resemble that of Rembrandt, that the last-named picture, and other canvases in the Leipzig and Budapest galleries and in the collection of Lord Radnor, were or are still ascribed to Rembrandt.
In his best period, from 1655 to 1665, Maes devoted himself to domestic genre on a smaller scale, retaining to a great extent the magic of colour he had learnt from Rembrandt. Only on rare occasions did he treat scriptural subjects, as in Hagar's Departure, which has been ascribed to Rembrandt. His favorite subjects were women spinning, or reading the Bible, or preparing a meal. He had a particular fascination with the subject of lacemaking and made almost a dozen versions on this subject.
While he continued to reside in Dordrecht until 1673, when he settled in Amsterdam, he visited or even lived in Antwerp between 1665 and 1667. His Antwerp period coincides with a complete change in style and subject. He devoted himself almost exclusively to portraiture, and abandoned the intimacy and glowing color harmonies of his earlier work for a careless elegance which suggests the influence of Van Dyck. So great indeed was the change, that it gave rise to the theory of the existence of another Maes, of Brussels. His registered pupils were Justus de Gelder, Margaretha van Godewijk, Jacob Moelaert, and Johannes Vollevens. Maes died in Amsterdam.
Maes is well represented at the London National Gallery by five paintings: The Cradle, The Dutch Housewife, The Idle Servant, The Card Players, and a man's portrait. At Amsterdam, besides the splendid examples to be found at the Rijksmuseum, is the Inquisitive Servant of the Six collection. At Buckingham Palace is The Listening Girl (repetitions exist), and at Apsley House Selling Milk and The Listener. Other notable examples are at the Berlin, Brussels, St Petersburg, the Hague, Frankfort, Hanover, Ottawa and Munich galleries.
- Portrait of Laurence Hyde, Earl of Rochester - Oil on canvas, 110,5 x 88 cm, Private collection
- Christ Before Pilate (1649-1650) - Oil on canvas, 216 x 174 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
- Portrait of Four Children (1657) - Oil on canvas, 150 x 112 cm, Groeningemuseum, Bruges
- Christ Blessing the Children (1652-1653) -Oil on canvas, 206 x 154 cm, National Gallery, London
- Portrait of Justus Criex (1666) - Oil on canvas, 109 x 92 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
- Eavesdropper with a Scolding Woman (1655) - Oil on panel, 46,3 x 72,2 cm, Private collection
- The Housekeeper
- The Idle Servant (1655) - Oil on wood, 70 x 53 cm, National Gallery, London
- The Lacemaker (1649-1650) - Oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- The Lacemaker (1655) - oil on canvas National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
- Old Woman Dozing (1656) - Oil on canvas, 135 x 105 cm, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels
- Portrait of a Woman (1667) - Oil on canvas, 90 x 72 cm, Musée d'Arras, Arras
- Portrait of a Woman - Oil on canvas, 89,6 x 71,2 cm, Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent
- A Woman Spinning (1655) - Oil on panel, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
- Apostle Thomas (1656) - Oil on canvas, Staatliche Museen
- Woman Plucking a Duck (c. 1656) - Oil on canvas, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia
- Old Woman at Prayer (c.1656) - Oil on canvas, 134 x 113 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
- Doing the Accounts (1656) - Oil on canvas, 66 x 54 cm, Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis
- The Eavesdropper (1657) - Oil on canvas, 92 x 122 c, Public collection
- Portrait of Jacob Trip (c. 1660) - Oil on canvas, 88 x 68 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
- Portrait of Margaretha de Geer, Wife of Jacob Trip (c. 1660) - Oil on canvas, 88 x 68 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
- Children Bathing (1665–1670) - Oil on canvas, 72 x 91 cm, Louvre, Paris
- Portrait of Simon van Alphen (c.1680) - Oil on canvas, 71 x 57 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Maes, Nicolas". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
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- Works and literature on Nicolaes Maes
- Vermeer and The Delft School, exhibition catalog fully online as PDF from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which contains material on Nicolaes Maes
- The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer, exhibition catalog fully online as PDF from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which contains material on Nicolaes Maes (cat. no. 3)