Faculty portrait.

photograph by Adolfo Ramon

Posing for the painting in 2014 and the artistic interpretation of Adolfo Ramón.

Carlo Beenakker by Adolfo Ramon (2014)


As a wonderful gift from our Institute (thank you so much, Eric!), the Dutch-Spanish painter Adolfo Ramón was commissioned for a portrait of mine. Eventually (after my death...) this may find its place in the Senate Chamber of the Leiden Academy building, in the (hopefully long) mean time the Faculty Chamber next door is just fine.

The Leiden tradition of faculty portraits goes back nearly three centuries, the first series was commissioned in 1735. Although a high degree of uniformity was the norm originally, with all professors posing in their ceremonial gown, now a greater variety of dress and attributes is welcomed (as you can see here).

While I preferred to keep the gown, I did like the idea of showing some objects that illustrate my research. I may have gone a bit overboard with that, including items that represent the evolution of computing, from abacus, to slide rule, to the tablet computer, all based on the laws of classical mechanics. The black board then shows the fundamental equations of a quantum computer, which is now the central topic of my research and may well be realized later this century.

I posed for a series of photographs in the Spring of 2014, sitting behind the desk of Hendrik Lorentz (after whom the Instituut-Lorentz where I work is named). The painting was finalized in August of that year, following a posing session in the Spanish Pyrenees, while I was enjoying the warm hospitality of Maya and Adolfo Ramón. All in all, a truly memorable experience.

Carlo Beenakker

Carlo Beenakker (by Adolfo Ramon) and Joannes Beenakker (by Carla Rodenberg)

A faculty portrait of my father was painted by Carla Rodenberg in 1991. It gives me a particular joy to see the two us together in this way.

In 2018 the tradition that only dead males can hang in the senate room was abandoned, and a dozen potraits of living women professors were added - here you can watch the movie of the event.