Joris Vekemans (1590-1625) was a rich Antwerp businessman who died at an early age. His wealth can be gauged from the series of portraits of his family that he ordered from Cornelis de Vos. The fact that he commissioned them from one of Antwerp’s most famous specialist of children’s portraits is already indicative, but the portraits themselves also radiate his prosperity.
The museum possesses four of them. In 2006 a fifth portrait was lent by the King Baudouin Foundation, which had purchased it from a private collector. The entire set must have consisted of six panels. They were done as pendants: Joris and his wife Maria (d. 1664) form one pair. A second was formed by Frans, who is four or five years old here, and his sister Elisabeth or Cornelia, who only differed by one year. Jan, the eldest son, may have formed a pendant with the other sister. The subjects in each pair adopt the same pose, the backgrounds correspond, and the painter used a similar palette.