Baroque and Rococo

 

Baroque and Rococo Art Map








 

The Art of the Portrait


 


Masterpieces of European Portrait-Painting


1420-1670



 

 

 
   
  The Art of the Portrait
   
  The Great Age of the Portrait
  Origins of the Portrait
  Jan van Eyck: Tymotheos
  Jan van Eyck: The Marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini
  Jan van Eyck: The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin
  Rogier van der Weyden: Portrait of a Lady
  Jean Fouquet: Etienne Chevalier Presented by St Stephen
  Hans Memling: Man with a Roman Coin
  Antonello da Messina: Portrit of a Man, known as "Il Condottiere"
  Early Portrait of a Ruler
  Piero della Francesca: Federigo da Montefeltro and his Wife Battista Sforza
  Portraits of Renaissance Women
  Pisanello: Young Lady of the Este Family
  Leonardo da Vinci: The Lady with the Ermine (Cecilia Gallerani)
  Leonardo da Vinci: Mona Lisa (La Gioconda)
  Giorgione: Portrait of a Young Lady ("Laura")
  Piero di Cosimo: Simonetta Vespucci
  Agnolo Bronzino: Laura Battiferri
  The Psychological Portrait
  Lorenzo Lotto: Young Man before a White Curtain
  Lorenzo Lotto: Man with a Golden Paw
  Moretto da Brescia: Portrait of a Young Man
  Portraits and Caricatures
  Quentin Massys: Old Woman (The Queen of Tunis)
  Portraits of Renaissance Humanists
  Luca Signorelli: Portrait of a Middle-Aged Man
  Agnolo Bronzino: Portrait of Ugolino Martelli
  Raphael: Baldassare Castiglione
  Lucas Cranach the Elder: Dr. Cuspinian and his Wife
  Hans Holbein the Younger: Erasmus of Rotterdam
  Mythologising Portraits
  Agnolo Bronzino: Andrea Doria as Neptune
  Nicoletto da Modena (?): Francis I of France as an Antique God
  Portraits of Popes and Cardinals
  Raphael: Pope Leo X with Cardinals Giuliano de' Medici and Luigi de Rossi
  Titian: Pope Paul III, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and Duke Ottavio Farnese
  Portraits of Artists and Collectors
  Lorenzo Lotto: Andrea Odoni
  Titian: Jacopo de Strada
  Artists' Self-Portraits
  Albrecht Durer: Self-Portrait with a Fur Coat
  Nicolas Poussin: Self-Portrait
  Rembrandt: Self-Portraits
  Portrait of a Friend
  Hans Holbein the Younger: The French Ambassadors to the English Court
  "Teste Composte"
  Giuseppe Arcimboldo: Vertumnus
  Portraits of 16th and 17th-century Rulers
  Titian: Emperor Charles V after the Battle of Miihlberg
  Anthony van Dyck: Charles I of England, Hunting
  Hyacinthe Rigaud: Louis XIV of France
  Philippe de Champaigne: Triple Portrait of Cardinal Richelieu
  Marriage and Family Portraits
  Peter Paul Rubens: Rubens and Isabella Brant under the Honeysuckle
  Jacob Jordaens: The Artist and his Family
  Portraits of Children
  Giovanni Francesco Caroto: Boy with a Drawing
  Jan van Scorel: The Schoolboy
  Diego Velazquez: The Infante Philip Prosper
  Dutch Civic Guard Portraits
  Rembrandt: "The Night Watch"
  Portraits of Regents
  Frans Hals: The Governors of the Old Men's Almshouse at Haarlem
  Anatomy Lessons
  Rembrandt: The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
  Portraits of Fools and Dwarfs
  Diego Velazquez: The Dwarf "El Primo"
 
 

 

 



Portraits of 16th and 17th-century Rulers

 



see also:


Anthony van Dyck

 


Anthony van Dyck:


Charles I of England, Hunting



 


Antonu van Dyck
Charles I: King of England at the Hunt

1635
Oil on canvas
Musee du Louvre, Paris

 

Soon after his graduation as master of St. Luke's painters' guild in Antwerp (1618), Anthony van Dyck, who had worked independently since 1615 when barely more than a youth, started work on a number of important paintings in the workshop of Peter Paul Rubens, who was twenty-two years his senior. Rubens's influence on the style of the younger artist is unmistakable, and this was as good an entry as any to the world of society portraiture, both at home and abroad. Van Dyck specialised in portraiture from very early on. An important early work is the double portrait, actually a pair, of a Genucse senator and his wife, probably executed in 1622 during a visit to Italy. It is an early example of the monumental style used by van Dyck to emphasise the power, dignity and rank of his artistocratic patrons, a style which, in spite of the artist's attention to the individual psychology expressed in each face, bestowed upon his sitters a demure sense of reserve, further intensified by painting them against a background of palatial architecture.
In 1632 van Dyck went to London, where he became painter to Charles I.
Here he remained until his death in 1641, except for a two-year visit to Brussels (1634/35). As "principalle Paynter in Ordinary to their Majesties at St. James" from 1633 onwards, and with an annual income of two hundred pounds per annum, he now had the necessary freedom and routine to develop his own style. While remaining within the bounds of conventional decorum, his elegant portraits nonethless allowed the sitter to appear more relaxed.
This is well illustrated by a portrait of Charles I (now in the Louvre)168 which, during the eighteenth century, entered the collection of Countess Dubarry, who had insisted, rather too boldly as it turned out, that she was an heir to the Stuarts. Unlike many of van Dyck's official portraits of the English king - often modelled on paintings like Titian's Emperor Charles V after the Battle of Miihlberg, or Rubens's equestrian portraits such as the Duke of Lerma, which show the ruler from below in order to emphasise his sublime grandeur and regal majesty - Charles I is portrayed here almost as a private gentleman, without the insignia or pomp of royalty. A closer look, however, reveals that the purpose of this painting, too, is to demonstrate the power of the throne. Even the theme itself - a hunting trip - refers to an aristocratic privilege. Accompanied by two pages, or stable boys, one of whom is saddling the horse, while the other brings blankets, Charles I stands casually in a forest clearing, posing against a distant maritime landscape. He is wearing a fashionably tilted, broad-brimmed hat, a shining silver doublet and turndown boots. His left hand rests on his hip, nonchalantly holding a kid glove. However negligent the pose may initially seem, its gestural vocabulary was, in fact, quite rigorously defined. The hand-on-the-hip was a set-piece gesture adopted by rulers to impress their subjects, a gesture whose exclusivity became even more visible when non-aristocratic sitters, for example Frans Hals's Willem van Heytbuyzen, attempted to imitate it. The glove, too, was a symbol invested with special chivalnc significance.
Christopher Brown has rightly pointed out that the impression of casual elegance imparted by this painting must be viewed in relation to the reception of Baldassare Castiglione's Cortegiano. The "courtier's code" described in this book had been influential in England since Elizabethan times. Charles I was concerned to appear before his subjects as the ideal, universally educated nobleman, well-versed in all the arts, including that of hunting. Here, his pose is leisurely, unconstrained; at the same time, his regal dignity is intact, commanding a respectful distance between the spectator and himself.
     


Antonu van Dyck
The Genoese Senator
1621-23
oil on canvas
Gemaldegalerie, Berlin


Antonu van Dyck
The Genoese Senator's Wife
1621-23
oil on canvas
Gemaldegalerie, Berlin

 

Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) ran his own studio from the age of 17. His fame soon spread beyond the Flemish borders. His work was much in demand abroad. He became painter to the English court in 1620/21. In October 1621 he travelled to Italy with letters of introduction from Rubens, whose workshop he had entered in 1617. Van Dyck's portraits of Genuese nobility were modelled on standards set by Rubens's own portraits of noblemen. Rubens had emphasised the dignity and rank of his patrician patrons, commanding the spectator's respect by viewing the sitter from slightly below.
 

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Hyacinthe Rigaud:


Louis XIV of France



 

 


Hyacinthe Rigaud
Louis XIV
1702
 

 

This portrait, partly owing to the frequent use of reproductions of it in history textbooks, is often viewed as the classic symbol of the absolutist state. Hyacinthe Rigaud painted it when the sixty-three year-old king was at the height of his power. It was the period in which Louis XIV radically implemented his Catholicization policy, persecuted the Huguenots for the second time and wiped out Jansenism at Port-Royal. This "terreur", which Jules Mi-chelet thought even worse than the revolutionary terror of 1793, enabled Louis XIV to stabilise his power, which, according to Jacques Benigne Bossuet, who coined the phrase, was based on the princicple: "un roi, une loi, une foi".
Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659-1743), whose real name was Jacinto Rigau y Ros, had entered the Academie Royale in 1681, where he soon took second prize in historical painting, established his reputation as a portraitist and entered the services of the French court. His portrait of Louis XIV had been intended for the Spanish court. However, the king's admiration for the portrait was so great that he had it copied, keeping the original at Versailles. It is almost impossible to imagine anything which could outdo this exhibition of courtly pomp and circumstance. The king wears a long, flowing robe with a gold, Bourbon, fleur-de-lys pattern repeated on a blue ground, folded back to reveal to the spectator a full, ermine lining. He is presented in a full-bottomed wig, posing in an attitude similar to, but considerably less casual than, that adopted by van Dyck's Charles I of England, Hunting. Louis XIV rests one hand on a staff - a martial sceptre bearing the flcur-de-lys -while his other is propped on his hip behind the bejewelled hilt of his sword. The king has risen from the throne, which is placed on a podium beneath the vaulted, tasselled canopy behind him. His chief badge of office, the crown, lies on a cushion-topped table, spread, once again, with a fleur-de-lys-patterned cover. Rising behind it is the pedestal of an enormous column, a symbol of power and grandeur, the mark of lasting majesty and stability. Since the days of early Renaissance portraiture - in the work of Giovanni Battista Moroni, for example - the column had featured as an attribute of the aristocracy.
The exposure to view of the ruler's legs is not dandified, as we might assume today, but exemplifies a ritual followed by ruling princes since antiquity. In 1783, Antoine-Frangois Callet portrayed Louis XVI with his knee exposed to view, and Ingres continued the tradition in his portrait of the newly enthroned French Emperor Napoleon in 1804.
 


Hyacinthe Rigaud
Louis XIV
(detail)


Hyacinthe Rigaud
Louis XIV
(detail)

 

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see also:


Philippe de Champaigne

 



Philippe de Champaigne
:


Triple Portrait of Cardinal Richelieu


 

    

Philippe de Champaigne
Triple Portrait of Richelieu

c. 1640
Oil on canvas, 58 x 72 cm
National Gallery, London
 

Philippe de Champaigne
Triple Portrait of Richelieu
(detail)
c. 1640
Oil on canvas, 58 x 72 cm
National Gallery, London

Besides portraits of the actual ruler, it became customary during the period of absolutism to have state portraits painted of prime ministers, the figures in charge of state affairs. The best examples of such portraits are Philippe de Champaigne's likenesses of Armand-Jean du Plcssis de Richelieu, who rose to great power under Louis XIII. Richelieu's family had risen to the lower nobility by office; his mother was the daughter of a lawyer, while his father had served as Seigneur de Richelieu, Provost General of the Royal Household under Henry IV. At the age of twenty-one, Richelieu was nominated by Henry IV as candidate for the office of Bishop of Lucon, a position for which his family in Poitou traditionally possessed the right of proposal, and which he finally succeeded in obtaining by skilfully tricking Pope Paul V about his age. The way was now open for this legally adroit clergyman to enter a career in politics. Patronized by Maria de' Medici and Concino Concini, he was eventully appointed Secretary of State in 1616.
Among the other proteges of Maria de' Medici was Philippe de Champaigne from Brussels, who was appointed painter to the court by her in 1628, and put in charge of decorating the Palais du Luxembourg.

Many of Champaigne's portraits reveal the influence of the Jansenists, a Catholic sect supported largely by bourgeois circles whose quasi-Calvimstic severity was directed against Jesuit laxity in matters of faith. One such portrait is the famous "ex voto" portrait of two nuns, of whom one was his own daughter. Considering his religious views, it might perhaps seem odd that Champaigne was commissioned to paint the portrait of a cardinal and prime minister who was responsible for the persecution of the Huguenots. However, Richelieu's background and policy had made him an exponent of bourgeois political thought and a statesman who made determined use of his office to dismantle the privileges of the aristocracy and centralize state power (cf. his edict of 1626). Despite his eminent position within the church, Richelieu, a typically "modern" rationalist, was driven by an ascetic work ethos. His puritanical attitude to state office is accentuated in the famous full-length portrait, of which there are a number of variants. Although the fullness of his cardinal's robe is made quite apparent here, its triangular shape draws the eye upwards to his small, pale face, which, marked by years of tiring office, and partly as a result of the total masking of his body and rhetorical agility of his hands, seems the focal point of a puritanical force of will directed against the body.

 

 

 


Hyacinthe Rigaud
Two Views of the Artist's Mother
1695
Musee du Louvre, Paris
 

 

The painting of three different views of the sitter's face may have been inspired by knowledge of the "Prudentia" theme, a subject of central importance in Italian painting of the Renaissance. A fifteenth-century Florentine relief (London, Victoria and Albert Museum) shows an - admittedly syncretistic - allegory of prudence in the form of three faces. This can be traced back to Cicero's discussion of "prudentia" as a human quality consisting of three parts - "mcmoria" (memory), "intelligentia" (understanding) and "providentia" (foresight) - each of which, in turn, corresponded to a temporal dimension: past, present or future (Cicero, De inventione II, 13). Inscribed on an allegory of prudence attributed to Titian are the words: EX PRAETERITO/PRAESENS PRUDENTER AGIT/NI FUTURA AC-TIONE DETURPET (from the past come the wise actions in the present of a person who wishes to make no mistakes in future). This could almost be Richelieu's motto, a man who took every known factor into account before coming to a rational decision.
 


Philippe de Champaigne
Cardinal Richelieu

c. 1637
OiI on canvas, 260 x 178 cm
National Gallery, London

 

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Marriage and Family Portraits

 


See also:


Peter Paul Rubens
 


Peter Paul Rubens
:


Rubens and Isabella Brant
 

under the Honeysuckle


 


Peter Paul Rubens
The Artist and His First Wife, Isabella Brant, in the Honeysuckle Bower
1609-10
Oil on canvas, 178 x 136,5 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

 

 

Following his return from Italy, Peter Paul Rubens married Isabella Brant, the daughter of a respected patrician and secretary of state. To mark the occasion, he painted this double portrait. He had spent the previous eight years working for the Duke of Mantua, in whose service he had been sent on diplomatic missions to Spain, Venice, Rome and Genoa. Rubens, the son of an Antwerp lawyer, had graduated as master of St. Luke's painters guild in Antwerp in 1598. Since then he had come into frequent contact with courtly society, developing manners that would have been becoming in a person of aristocratic birth, while maintaining his bourgeois sense of freedom and independence of mind. Intellectually, he had reason to be grateful to Justus Lipsius, the teacher who had schooled him in Stoic philosophy.
 


Peter Paul Rubens
Isabella Brant, the Artist's First Wife
c. 1622
London, British Museum


Peter Paul Rubens
The Artist and His First Wife, Isabella Brant,
in the Honeysuckle Bower
(detail)
1609-10


Rubens married Isabella Brant (1591-1626),
the daughter of the Antwerp patrician and humanist Jan Brant (1559-1639),
on 3rd December 1609. The double portrait which he painted to mark
the occasion is set against a natural background,
a pastoral idyll emphasising the happiness and loving tenderness
of the moment rather than the offical ceremony.
 


Peter Paul Rubens
The Artist and His First Wife, Isabella Brant, in the Honeysuckle Bower
(detail)
1609-10
 

 

In his portrait Rubens transforms the joining of hands - the "dextrarum junctio", still considered a legally binding, ritual gesture of betrothal in Jan van Eyck's Arnolfini-portrait - to a sign of loving tenderness, playing down the more official aspect of the ceremony without losing respect for the gesture's legal and symbolic significance. Love and affection are shown as the basis of the union, and the free decision of each of the spouses to enter marriage is underlined, irrespective of legal relations governing their property. It is nonetheless apparent that affluence, luxury, rank and reputation ultimately form the material basis of their union. This is especially evident in the couple's clothes. Rubens himself, his left leg crossed casually over his right, is wearing an elegantly fashionable costume with a pressed lace collar, while Isabella Brant wears a long, voluminous, red silk skirt, with a lace ruff encircling her lace bonnet and high yellow hat. Her bejewelled bracelet displays her family wealth. The sword hilt nonchalantly held in Rubens's hand - his hand partly hides it, partly attracts the spectator's attention to it - is a casual reference to the quasi-aristocratic status of the artist. The relationship between the sexes initially seems egalitarian; a hierarchy is suggested, however, by the fact that he is sitting, while she kneels on the grass.
The couple is posed in an arbour under some honeysuckle. Traditionally, in Italian betrothal and marriage portraits of the Renaissance-in Giorgione's Laura, for example - bushes and other such settings or backdrops were included as symbolic attributes or emblematic decorations, while here the honeysuckle appears natural, a bush blossoming in a real garden or landscape. The symbolism seems quite coincidental: "longer-the-better" was a popular name for the shrub. Whereas the couple in van Eyck's Arnolfini-portrait is seen in a parlour, Rubens's double portrait suggests that "his" couple has left the interior for a "love garden", or pleasance, a sphere of human happiness in the natural world. The tradition of the pastoral idyll, with its Utopian allusions to a Golden Age and the Garden of Eden, had been revived in the literature of the period.
 


Jan van Eyck
The Arnolfini Marriage
(detail)
1434
National Gallery at London


Giorgione
Laura
1506
Art History Museum, Vienna

 

 

 

In 1622, almost two dacades later, Frans Hals returned to Rubens's subject of the seemingly unconstrained and unconventional couple under the honeysuckle, exploring the theme in a portrait which probably shows Isaak Massa and his wife. The pose of the recently married couple, leaning against the trunk of a tree, emphasises the casual air of the portrait. The ivy twining itself around the tree and curling round at the woman's feet, who, in turn, has her hand negligently resting on the man's shoulder, symbolises the permanence of marriage. The thistle growing next to the man in the bare patch of ground at the bottom left of the picture may be an allusion to God's words to Adam after the Fall: "Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee." (Genesis 3,17f.) Thus, the thistle may symbolise labour, itself a consequence of the Fall. In puritanical Calvinist ethics, which had already gained considerable currency in the Netherlands, work was considered a cardinal virtue, and achievement a central aspect of personal conduct.
While Peter Paul Rubens found it neither desirable nor necessary - at least in his Honeysuckle painting - to add ennobling background scenes, Frans Hals's work for his Dutch bourgeois couple included an Italian landscape background on the right - a sunlit villa, marble statue and spring - whose purpose was to create the impression of elevated rank and dignified elegance. However, the background features are fanciful, bearing no relation whatsoever to the real world of the couple. Rather than the couple's country residence, scrutiny of iconographical details shows the villa to be the temple of Juno, the goddess of marriage, whose attribute was the peacock.
 


Frans Hals
Isaak  Abrahamsz Massa and Beatrix van der Lean

1622


Frans Hals
Isaak  Abrahamsz Massa and
Beatrix van der Lean
(detail)
1622

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