Saturday, 16 May 2009

Van Dyck and Britain



Yesterday visited the "Van Dyck and Britain" exhibition at the Tate Britain. What a wonderful exhibition! Never realised how influential Van Dyck was in British portraiture. The comparison with previous very stiff portraits was amazing, his are so relaxed. Died young at 42 years but produced around 400 works due to his factory techniques. He painted the faces and outline from life, his artists completed the rest. His patrons were royalty and aristocracy, he was very ambitious and trained under Rubens. Two centuries later, everyone wanted to be painted in a Van Dyck costume. His prices were £60 - full portrait, £30 - half portrait, £20 head and shoulders. Costumes worn by the sitters could cost £45. £60 in 1620 would be worth £93,000 today.
above: portrait of Mary Hill, Lady Pettigrew (1638)

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