Masters of Mobility


11.3 Portraits

P1 – Portrait of a man holding a watch, c. 1604

Gerson mentions the portrait as a supposed self-portrait of David Kindt.1 This painting is a portrait of an unknown gentleman, signed by David Kindt, which today is no longer regarded as a self-portrait.2 The half-length portrait shows a man turned to the right with a reddish pointed beard against a dark background. He holds an open pocket watch in his right hand. He wears a black silk shirt with a woven floral pattern and a broad ruff of fine, white linen, set into figure-of-eight folds. The misidentification as a self-portrait is based on the interpretation of the signature Dauit Kindt ET F., which is on the pocket watch and is dissolved as David Kindt Ego Te Feci (David Kindt I made you).3 With this wording, however, the signature by no means refers to a self-portrait, but merely to the authorship of David Kindt. It is very likely that the portrait depicts a young, wealthy merchant from Hamburg. A portrait similar in posture and clothing was created by David Kindt of the Hamburg merchant and later senator Rudolf Amsinck, who also holds an open pocket watch in his right hand (see below). Pocket watches and travel watches were still a rarity at that time. They were only affordable for the wealthy. For travelling merchants who did business on the international stock exchanges in Hamburg, Antwerp, London or Amsterdam, they were of great use.4

David Kindt
Portrait of a man holding a watch, c. 1604
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, inv./ 457

P2 – Portrait of an elderly woman, dated 1604

The supposed self-portrait is associated with another portrait by David Kindt, which in older literature is referred to as the artist’s mother.5 This portrait is probably not the painter’s mother, but an unknown elderly lady, who might well be the mother of the unknown young gentleman mentioned above. The woman is depicted in half profile, slightly turned to the left, against an indefinite, dark background. She is wearing a black velvet robe with light brown fur trimming and a high, stiff, tightly pleated ruff. On her head she wears a white bonnet which is folded over her temples. The face of the lady is very finely drawn. Friendly and attentive, her grey-brown eyes seem to be looking at her counterpart. The contours of cheeks, nose and chin seem very plastic by the distribution of the light and shadow-parts. The cheeks are slightly reddened and a smile lies on her lips. She holds a small book with a red cover and a gilt edge in her right hand, with an index finger between the pages, so that she can resume reading the next moment. Her left hand rests on the wrist of her right hand. The white, lace-trimmed cuffs of the undergarment look out of her sleeves. On the ring finger of her left hand she wears a gold ring consisting of three narrow individual rings which are interwoven with each other. As in the depiction of the face, the skill of the portraitist David Kindt in creating plasticity and liveliness through highlights and shadows is also evident in the hands.

David Kindt
Portrait of an elderly woman, dated 1604
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, inv./ 458

P3 – Portrait of Rudolf Amsinck (1577-1636), dated 1604

In 1604 David Kindt painted the portrait of the merchant and senator Rudolf Amsinck (1577-1636).6 Rudolf Amsinck was a son of Willem Amsinck and Henrica van de Rouse who fled the Netherlands. The Amsinck family was immensely wealthy. They owned land and country houses in the surroundings of Hamburg, in Curslack, Billwerder and on the island Nordstrand. Rudolf Amsinck was co-founder of the insurance company Rudolf und Arnold Amsinck, co-founder of the Hamburger Bank and founder of a wire mill in Gröhnwohld near Trittau in Holstein. In 1618 he became juror of the main church St. Peter’s in Hamburg, in 1619 councillor and in 1626 colonel of the main church St. Catherine in Hamburg. He took part in numerous missions to Denmark and the Netherlands. The portrait shows Rudolf Amsinck at the age of 27 as a half-figure turned to the right against a dark background. He wears a black, slashed doublet and a white ruff. The starched linen is set into elaborate figure-of-eight folds and the gold thread of the supportasse shines through the fine fabric. Rudolf Amsinck’s reddish hair is short, and he wears a slightly twirled moustache and a small beard. In his right hand he holds an open pocket watch that resembles the watch of the unknown gentleman in the Hamburger Kunsthalle.

David Kindt
Portrait of Rudolf Amsinck (1577-1636), dated 1604
Hamburg, Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte

P4 – Portrait of Isabeau Amsinck (1583-1636), dated 1604

The portrait of Rudolf Amsinck was probably painted on the occasion of his marriage to Isabeau de Hertoghe (1583-1662), who also had herself portrayed by David Kindt.7 Isabeau de Hertoghe was born in Antwerp as the daughter of the merchant Sieur Cornelis de Hertoghe and Isabeau van Achelen. The family fled to Hamburg after the ‘Spanish Fury’.8 Isabeau de Hertoghe and Rudolf Amsinck married on 22 November 1601. Isabeau de Hertoghe is depicted as a frontal half-figure set against a dark background. Her head is turned slightly to the left. She is wearing a red, slashed dress with gold embroideries, a jacket-like bodice of black velvet and a large, stiff white ruff. On her head she wears a white lace bonnet. She holds a gold chain with a golden pomander in her right hand. On her wrist she wears a gold bracelet with precious stones and two gold rings with precious stones on her index finger. The elaborate dress style and the rich jewellery do not correspond to the Hamburg dress code.9 The Dutch immigrants were not subject to the Hamburg sumptuary laws and were therefore able to display their wealth and creditworthiness more exuberantly.

David Kindt
Portrait of Isabeau Amsinck (1583-1636) born De Hertoghe, wife of Rudolf Amsinck, pendant dated 1604
Hamburg, Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte

P5 – Portrait of Ditmar Kohl (Koel) (1565-1625), dated 1605/1606

The portrait of Ditmar Kohl (1565-1628), painted in 1605/06, is certainly also attributable to David Kindt.10 It shows the Hamburg councillor Ditmar Kohl III in a three-quarter portrait turned to the left against a dark background. He wears a black hose and a black doublet made of Atlas silk with a woven flower pattern and slashed sleeves, and a white ruff. His hair is short and he wears a short, full beard. His right hand rests on a table with a book and a lemon on it. He has put his left hand in the side pocket of his doublet. At the top right is the family coat of arms with two rabbits and three cabbage leaves.

Ditmar Kohl was the grandson of the ship commander, admiral and mayor, Ditmar Koel (c. 1500-1563) and belonged to a respected Hamburg councillor family. In 1611 he became a treasurer, in 1619 a Senior and a ‘Leichnamsgeschworener’. The office of a ‘Leichnamsgeschworener’ is the same as that of a church council. The name originates from pre-Reformation times and refers to the Holy Body of Christ, the transformed host. The office comprised the supervision of the parish assets and the bookkeeping of the income and expenditure of the parish. The senior citizens were elected from the Deacons of the four Hamburg parishes of St. Nicolai, St. Peter’s, St. Jacob’s and St. Catherine’s. Since the Reformation they had each administered the poor box of their parish, as well as the main box, and the Hospital of the Holy Spirit together. From 1620/21 onwards Ditmar Kohl was a member of the Council of forty-eight, which comprised the congregation of the Seniors and the Deacons. In 1625 he became president of this corporation. The Council of 48 represented the citizenry before the Senate and was responsible for ensuring that agreements reached between the Senate and the citizenry were observed.

David Kindt
Portrait of Ditmar Kohl (Koel) (1565-1625), dated 1605/1606
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, inv./ 459

P6 – Portrait of Friedrich Lindenbrog (1573-1648), c. 1617

Alfred Lichtwark had already connected this portrait of Friedrich Lindenbrog (1573-1648), probably painted around 1617, to David Kindt. However, it was Harry Schmidt who was the first to attribute it to him.11 Carl Schellenberg confirmed the attribution when he discovered the monogram of David Kindt at the lower edge of the painted oval frame. The painting shows the Hamburg lawyer and philologist as a half-length portrait with his head slightly turned to the right. Lindenbrog’s gaunt face is plastically modelled with light and shadow. His dark blond hair falls over his ears to his collar. His full beard is thin and slightly grey. A smile plays on his lips and his gaze is friendly, although frown wrinkles between his brows are clearly visible. He wears a dark robe with wide fur trimming and a flat white collar. The background is dark and vague. The painting was probably fitted into an oval frame in the late 17th century and reduced in size.

Friedrich Lindenbrog was a son of the Hamburg notary and historian Erpold Lindenbrog (1540-1616) and brother of the Gottorf librarian and philologist Heinrich Lindenbrog (1570-1642). The brothers enrolled at Helmstedt University in 1592 and continued their studies in Leiden with Justus Lipsius (1547-1606) and Joseph Justus Scaliger (1540-1609). In 1599 Friedrich Lindenbrog became preceptor in Paris, where he studied the history of law. In 1604 he lived in Switzerland and travelled from there several times to Florence. After he obtained his law degree in Basel in 1608, he returned to Hamburg. He worked several times as a legate for the Hamburg Senate, for example in London in 1614 to negotiate the affairs of the Merchant Adventurers. In 1624 he received his doctorate in civil and church law in Hamburg and in 1625 he married Margarethe Moller, widow of the Hamburg mayor Sebastian von Bergen. As a legal scholar and philologist, Friedrich Lindenbrog published the first commented version of the Germanic law. He acquired numerous medieval manuscripts, which he bequeathed to the Hamburg library after his death. Friedrich Lindenbrog was a good friend of David Kindt. He took over the patronage for his fifth child, born on September 24, 1617, who was named after him Friedrich. It seems plausible to place the creation of the portrait in the context of the patronage.12

David Kindt
Portrait of Friedrich Lindenbrog (1573-1648), c. 1617
Hamburg, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg, inv./ 13

P7 – Portrait of an unknown man, dated 1639

The portrait of a man aged 59, dated 1639, is comparable to the portrait of Ditmar Kohl, although it was painted many years later.13 The knee-length portrait probably shows a Hamburg patrician. He slightly turns to the right and wears a black doublet with a wide belt, a luxuriant white ruff and white cuffs. His hair, goatee and moustache are blond. His forehead is slightly wrinkled, his gaze seems to fix the observer attentively. On the little finger of his right hand he wears a ring that is very similar to the ring of the unknown elderly lady in the Hamburger Kunsthalle. With his left hand he supports a book on a table. In the background, the base of a mighty pilaster is visible, with the inscription: ‘AETATIS SVAE. 59/ ANNO 1639.’ on it.

David Kindt
Portrait of an unknown man, dated 1639
Würzburg, Martin-von-Wagner-Museum der Universität Würzburg, inv./ F 630 (K205)

P8 – Portrait of Severin Schlüter (1571-1648), dated 1648

A late portrait by David Kindt is the portrait of Severin Schlüter (1571-1648), the main pastor of St. Jacob’s Church in Hamburg, from 1648.14 It was painted in the year of Severin Schlüter’s death, possibly even posthumously. The theologian is depicted sitting on an armchair at a table. His body is slightly turned to the right. His right hand rests on the table, and he holds an open book in his left hand. In the dark background a bookshelf and the folds of a curtain can be seen. Severin Schlüter’s clothing consists of a black clerical robe set off with velvet, a stiff ruff and a black coif. His light grey, curly hair comes out under the cap. He wears a lush beard, the two-part tip of which falls over the collar. On the table lies a book with red edge, on it an inkwell and a loose, inscribed page. More books stacked on a shelf are visible in the background on the right.

The theologian Severin Schlüter was born in Halle in Westphalia as the son of the Bielefeld merchant Bernhard Schlüter and Lucretia Ladewig. He studied theology in Erfurt, Cologne and Helmstedt. After obtaining his master’s degree in Helmstedt, he became vice rector in 1603 and rector in Stade in 1604. In 1604 he married Maria Funck, daughter of the pastor Daniel Funck from Rethem near Lüneburg. In 1613 he became a preacher in Bucca in the county of Hoya, in 1615 he became pastor in Weimar, and in 1617 main pastor at St. Jacob’s Church in Hamburg. Between 1621 and 1625 he gave theological lectures at the academic Gymnasium Johanneum in Hamburg. In 1646 he was Senior of the Hamburg Ministry. Severin Schlüter wrote several theological and philosophical treatises, some of which deal critically with the Calvinist doctrine of predestination and the Lord’s Supper.

David Kindt
Portrait of Severin Schlüter (1571-1648), dated 1648
Hamburg, Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte, inv./ 1989/96


1 Gerson 1942/1983, p. 218.

2 David Kindt, Portrait of a man holding a watch, oil on canvas, 74.7 x 61.5 cm, signed on the pocket watch: Dauit Kindt ET F, Hamburger Kunsthalle, inv. 457. Provenance: auction J.J. Lichtmann, Vienna (Artaria & Co.), 4 February 1899, no. 87; acquired there in 1899 with public funds. Frimmel 1892, p. 151; Lichtwark 1896-1924, vol. 5, p. 64; Jahresbericht 1899, p. 25; Pauli/Heise et al 1918, p. 85; Schmidt 1919, p. 27; Heise 1921, p. 88; Pauli/Heise et al. 1930, p. 85; Gerson 1983/1942, p. 218; Pauli/Heise et al. 1956, p. 88; Pauli/Heise et al. 1966, p. 91; Jaacks 1987, p. 3; Plagemann 1995, p. 189-191; Haak 2001, p. 123, note 504, 276ff, no. SB 1; Sitt/Walczak 2007, p. 211ff.

3 Schmidt 1919, p. 27.

4 A watch similar to the one in David Kindt’s painting is now in the Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte der Hansestadt Lübeck, inv. 1917/111. It has a diameter of 7.2 cm, is made of bronze and is partly gilded. The watch was possibly made in Lübeck at the end of the 16th century. At that time, however, Augsburg, London and Paris were the centres of watchmaking. A further comparable watch can be found today in the G. W. Willis Museum in Basingstoke, United Kingdom. Bracker 1989, vol. 2, p. 207, no. 12.8.

5 David Kindt, Portrait of an elderly woman, oil on canvas, ca. 74 x 61.5 cm, 1604, inscribed top right AETATIS. SVAE. 61./ ANNO. 1604, signed DK (ligated), Hamburger Kunsthalle, inv. 458. Provenance: Coll. J.J. Lichtmann, Vienna (Artaria & Co.), 4. 2. 1899, no. 87; acquired there 1899 with public funds. Frimmel 1892, p. 151ff; Lichtwark 1896-1920, vol. 5, p. 64; Jahresbericht 1899, p. 25; Pauli/Heise et al. 1918, p. 85; Schmidt 1919, p. 27; Pauli/Heise et al. 1921, p. 88ff; Pauli/Heise et al. 1930, p. 84; Pauli/Heise et al. 1956, p. 88; Pauli/Heise et al. 1966, p. 91; Plagemann 1995, p. 191; Haak 2001, p. 123, note 505; Sitt/Walczak 2007, p. 212ff.

6 David Kindt, Portrait of Rudolf Amsinck, 1604, oil on panel, ca. 71.5 x 52.5 cm, inscribed upper left: AETATIS. 27./ A° 1604, Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte (on loan from Mrs. Ruth Amsinck). Literature: Lichtwark 1898, vol. 1, p. 94; Schmidt 1919, p. 28; Schellenberg 1942, p. 272; Hamburgisches Geschlechterbuch, vol. 9 (1961), p. 26-28; Reißmann 1975, p. 140ff; Jaacks 1987, p. 2ff; Bracker 1989, vol. 2, p. 465; Jaacks 1992, p. 14, fig. 5, p. 136ff, Kindt 1986/18; Sitt/Walczak 2007, p. 211; Walczak 2011, p. 76ff.

7 David Kindt, Portrait of Isabeau de Hertoghe, 1604, oil on panel, c. 71 x 53.5 cm, inscribed top right: AETATIS. 21./ A° 1604, Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte (on loan from Mrs. Ruth Amsinck). Literature: Lichtwark 1898, vol. 1, p. 94; Schmidt 1919, p. 28; Schellenberg 1942, p. 272; Hamburgisches Geschlechterbuch, vol. 9 (1961), p. 26-28; Jaacks 1987, p. 2-4; Bracker 1989, vol. 2, p. 465; Jaacks 1992, p. 14, fig. 6, p. 136f, Kindt 1986/19; Walczak 2011, p. 76ff.

8 For the de Hertoghe family: Sillem 1883, p. 510-512.

9 Jaacks 1983.

10 David Kindt, Portrait of Ditmar Kohl, 1605/06, oil on panel, c. 99.7 x 78.8 cm, inscribed upper left: DITMAR. KOHL / AETATIS. SUAE. 41 / ANNO. 1606, below two lines of an older inscription: AETATIS SUAE 40/ ANNO 1605 and: FILIUS./ CONSULIS. DITMARI KOHLS, Hamburger Kunsthalle, inv. 459. Provenance: Museum für Natur und Kunst, Sammlung Hamburgischer Altertümer, transferred from there in 1890. Literature: Lichtwark 1890, p. 21ff; Jahresbericht 1899, p. 18; Lichtwark 1896-1920, vol. 5, p. 64; Lichtwark 1898, vol. 1, p. 93-95; Pauli/Heise et al. 1918, p. 85; Schmidt 1919, p. 28ff; Pauli/Heise et al. 1921, p. 89; Habicht 1930, p. 189; Pauli/Heise et al. 1930, p. 85; Reincke 1931, p. 90; Schellenberg 1934, p. 195; Schellenberg 1942, p. 272-276; Pauli/Heise et al. 1956, p. 88; Pauli/Heise et al. 1966, p. 91; Haak 2001, p. 123, note 505; Sitt/Walczak 2007, p. 213ff.

11 David Kindt, Portrait of Friedrich Lindenbrog, oil on panel, oval, c. 64 x 45 cm, inscribed at upper margin [LIND]ENBROGIVS I. and DOCTOR C[E]LEB[ERRIMVS], at lower margin in distorted perspective the ligated monogram KINDT, Staatsbibliothek Hamburg, inv. 13. Provenance: Donation by Friedrich Lindenbrog 1645. Literature: Uffenbach 1753-1754, vol. 2, p. 124, as unknown artist; Lichtwark 1889, vol. 1, p. 90ff, as unknown artist; Münzel 1905, foreword, ill. before p. 9; Schmidt 1919, p. 32-34; Schellenberg 1942, p. 270ff; Kayser 1979, p. 59, 303, as unknown artist; Hamburg 1991, p. 75ff, as unknown artist; Uppenkamp 2019.

12 On Friedrich Kindt see Schmidt 1919, p. 33, 45-47.

13 David Kindt, Portrait of an unknown gentleman, 1639, oil on canvas, c. 100 x 77 cm, inscribed: AETATIS SVAE 59. ANNO 1639, below in ligation: DJNK, Martin von Wagner Museum der Universität Würzburg, inv. F 630 (K 205). Provenance: Collection of Joachim Josef Siegel in Heimbuchental, donated to the University of Würzburg in 1870. Literature: Knapp 1913, p. 123ff; Knapp 1914, no. 205; Schmidt 1919, p. 34; Schellenberg 1942, p. 264ff; Ragaller 1969, p. 29ff; Koppe/Hoffmann 1986, p. 104, no. 257; Sitt/Walczak 2007, p. 213, note 4.

14 David Kindt, Portrait of Severin Schlüter, oil on canvas, c. 106.4 x 87.3 cm, inscribed on the pages of the open book: Non est/morta-/le quod/opto./M. Severeinus Slüterus/Pastor Jacobaeus et/Rev: Ministerii/apud Hambur-/genses Se-/nior./Anno Chri-/sti, 1648:/Aetatis/77, on the spine of the book on the right: DK, Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte (on loan from Mr Constantin Schlüter). Literature: Schröder et al. 1851-1883, vol. 6 (1873), p. 584-586; Hamburgisches Geschlechterbuch, vol. 1, p. 364ff; Schellenberg 1935, p. 1; Schellenberg 1942, p. 265-267; Jaacks 1992, p. 21, fig. 14, p. 137, Kindt 1989/96.

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