Pieter Isaacsz

The dutch painter Pieter Isaacsz grew up in Elsinore but returned as a young man to the Low Countries. In Amsterdam he became an apprentice of Cornelius Ketel and served with Hans von Achen.

In 1608 he travelled to Copenhagen and took over his father’s position as an agent for the Danish King. He also became an agent for the Low Countries in Denmark and ended up playing a triple game by being employed as a correspondent by the Swedes. In present day terms he would probably be called a spy.

Isaacsz was much sought after as a portrait painter, and he was one of the first artists to paint with the model placed in a landscape. He received several commisions from Christian IV. Two of his principal pieces of work, princely portraits of Christian IV and his Queen Anna Cathrine, are kept at Rosenborg. The portraits were sewn together at Copenhagen Castle in 1639 to form a single picture. The painting was not originally intended as a double portrait and appears as an odd composition with the two characters standing far from each other.