Wolfgang Heimbach, The noble wedding party, oil on copper, 29.5 x 39.8 cm, 1636-1637, Kunsthalle, Bremen. (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons).

Signed “CWHB FECIT/ OVELGÖNNE/ANNO1636/BREMEN/AO /1637”, this small picture on copper is one of Heimbach’s earliest works. The painting is inspired by a compositional model employed a few years earlier by Dirck van Delen (1605-1671) and Dirck Hals (1591-1656), two genre painters appreciated by Heimbach during his period of study in the Netherlands lasted approximately until 1635. Heimbach’s painting sits halfway between genre and history painting. The fancy party populated by aristocratic figures in opulent dresses is set in a room displaying coats of arms from Oldenburg and Bremen. Considering that the nobleman who makes a gesture of speech has the features of Heimbach’s patron Count Anton Günther, it is possible to hypothesise that the painting might allude to a real event of a wedding celebrated either in Oldenburg or Bremen.