Memorial Painting of Adriaan Rockox and Catharina van Overhoff

c.1535
Jan Van Hemessen (1500-1575/79)

FRIDAY NIGHT = DATE NIGHT!

Little girls grow up. Here you see ten daughters of rich patricians, ten sisters together. Between the oldest and the youngest there is an age difference of 25 years, although this is hardly noticeable. Perhaps the painter didn't know the girls personally, or he couldn't portray them, so he painted types. But who are they? Who are their parents?

 

THE MEN ON THE LEFT AND THE WOMEN ON THE RIGHT LOOK AS THOUGH THEY HAVE FRONT ROW SEATS FOR SOME WEIRD STAGE PLAY. WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?

Our names are Adriaan Rockox, chamberlain to Emperor Charles, and Catherine van Overhoff. We both come from aristocratic families and have thirteen children together. I, Adriaan, am now seventy-five, which is a fine old age for our period. So we asked Jan Van Hemessen to create a memorial painting to hang over our tomb in the Chapel of St Dymphna in St James’ Church.
My youngest son is the father of Nicholas Rockox, whose house you’re in. My wife and I are devout Catholics and we are shown witnessing the Last Judgement. We are accompanied by our children and our respective patron saints, Adrian and Catherine of Alexandria, both of whom died as martyrs for their faith.

You can find me in the Museum Snijders&Rockoxhuis but still behind closed doors.

 

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