Maria Jabach from Cologne, unknown painter, 1639
Before I tell you who the lady is, let's see what the picture tells us.
All of that points not only at a rich lady, but also one that belongs to an important family - because of the coat of arms. Not a noble familiy, though, since she has no title.
Maria (1615 - 1642) was the daughter of a Cologne city council member, a patrician of the wealthy city. The year following this portrait, she married another city council member and died two years later.
The overall dress style is in keeping with the overall style of the late 1630s, often vaguely referred to as "cavalier style". Wide, turned back sleeve cuffs of white linen edged with scalloped lace are often seen from around 1600 on, while the wide-shouldered collar seems to have come into fashion around 1630, especially when worn with the cape-like over-collar that is closed with a small bow at the throat. It bears a certain similarirty with the portrait of the Capel family (1640).
It seems that most dresses during the 1630s sported slashed sleeves and were actually open robes showing a stomacher or decorative bodice and a petticoat underneth. There is an abundance of both in the picture database; in fact, Mrs Capel seems to wear such an open robe. This dress, however, has smooth sleeves and is closed in front. In that way, the dress heralds the advent of a new dress style with wide (not slashed) sleeves and no over-robe, but decorative bands of lace or woven tape down the centre front as seen in Vermeer paintings. If Miss Jabach lost the over-collar and ribbon belt and let the waistline drop, she would almost be there.
Pictures of the month archive
[an error occurred while processing this directive]