Albert Eckhout (1610-66), Don Miguel de Castro, Emissary of Congo, c. 1643-50
According to inscriptions on the back of the three paintings they depict the Emissary of Congo, Don Miguel de Castro and his servants, Pedro Sunda and Diego Bemba.
All three are dressed in accordance with Portuguese fashion, and the servants are showing gifts they have brought or received.
Sent by the ruler of Sonho
In 1643 or 1644 they arrived as part of a delegation sent by the ruler of Sonho, a province of Congo, via Brazil to The Netherlands.
Exhibited at the Royal Kunstkammer
One objective of the journey was to find a resolution to an internal conflict in Congo. The three portraits may have been painted in Brazil by Albert Eckhout, who did a number of paintings of Brazil scenes for the Dutch governor Johann Moritz of Nassau. In 1654 Johann Moritz gave these paintings to the Danish King Frederik III. The paintings were exhibited at the Royal Kunstkammer alongside other paintings and objects relating to the colonies.