Official portrait of King Willem Alexander

Location: Senate Room, Auditorium


In 2013, on the occasion of the accession to the throne of King Willem Alexander, dr. Nicole Ummelen, Secretary of the Board of TU/e, requests the Art Commission to acquire a new official portrait of the sovereign. After a lengthy selection process, Jacomijn den Engelsen, Rosemin Hendriks and Stijn Peters remain as the final three candidates for the assignment. All three are accomplished Dutch portrait artists.

The artists are given a free hand in their choice of materials and in the way they portray the King. Both the Art Commission and the Board of TU/e finally select the proposal by Jacomijn den Engelsen. Not just in view of the image and the impression this makes, but also in view of the techniques mrs. Den Engelsen applies. The choice for a wood cutting refers to the activities of King Willem Alexander in the field of water management.

Jacomijn den Engelsen shows us a friendly King who nevertheless makes a serious and self-confident impression. The backdrop is formed by natural structures in the wood cutting that suggest water, land and air; into that Den Engelsen inserts a horizon. Willem Alexander rises out above all this, and in combination with his height this emphasizes his dignity.

A powerful portrait
Jacomijn den Engelsen (1958) is an internationally acclaimed artist whose work is also included in the TU/e graphics collection. One of her fascinations is Japanese wood cutting. In 2008 she spends two months in Japan, where several masters of this art form teach her. 

Mrs. den Engelsen herself says about her portrait of the King: "I wished to let the King make a serious as well as friendly impression. My aim was to create a powerful portrait which would come out well in the setting of the Senate Room and which would also stand its ground among the other portraits in that room".

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