Portrait of a Bearded Cleric
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Helmich von Tweenhuysen II ( Amsterdam c. 1604 - Gdańsk 1673 )
Van Tweenhuysen was from a prominent merchant family, who had originally come from Zwolle. His uncle was Lambert van Tweenhuysen who had settled in Amsterdam at the age of twenty five. He was one of the most significant traders of the period, with business links all over Europe, but perhaps most importantly with the Baltic harbours including Gdańsk. As a founder of the New Netherland Company, he was also a pioneering figure in exploring new trading ventures with Native Americans in the Dutch colony New Netherland. Lambert’s brother was Helmich van Tweenhuysen I who was also in Amsterdam by 1596, when he married Maria van Ceulen. Two of their sons, Arent and Helmich II were to become painters. Although archival records are slightly fragmentary, it is clear the family spent time in both Amsterdam and Zwolle, where Helmich I was burgomaster, during the first two decades of the seventeenth century.