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17th Century English School Portrait Of A Young Gentleman - Oil On Panel C.1670

"17th Century English School Portrait Of A Young Gentleman - Oil On Panel C.1670"
Fine and intimate oil on panel portrait of a young gentleman circa 1670 from the circle of Sir Peter Lely.
With his smooth skin and wide eyed gaze this striking subject exhibits the male ideal of beauty associated with the second half of the seventeenth century. He has heavy lidded oval eyes and cupid - bow lips as well as the slightly heavy jaw seen in both male and female portraits of this era by artist around the circle of Lely (such as Mary Beale)
The elegant sitter is depicted half length wearing a white linen shirt and a blue silk cloak with his curly chestnut hair tumbling naturalistically around his shoulders.
Linen came in many grades of fineness and it was worn next to his skin to provide a washable layer. It was usual to want to display its snowy whiteness – and the costly labour- intensive process that kept it freshly laundered and clean. It is the interplay between rich silk and satin garments and the linen beneath that creates such a pleasing contrast of texture and colour within this portrait.
It was fashionable in the second half of the seventeenth century for men to be depicted in ‘undress’ (in a kind of dressing gown called a ‘banyan’) but it is highly unusual to see a man depicted in just his shirt, as this would have been regarded as an undergarment. The revealing flash of white flesh at the front of the sitters chest further confirms that he is delightfully ‘deshabille’
This fine and jewel like work is clearly an intimate piece that was made for a close companion ( it may even be a smaller riccordo /momento of a larger work ) Like us they would have enjoyed the sense of dress/undress and drapery that gives this portrait the semi-timeless air that was popularised by the paintings of Van Dyck, and his great admirer Lely.
Provenance: Private collection New England. Label verso recording that the painting was sold at the Stowe House sale and naming the sitter as the 2nd Duke of Buckingham.
I am most grateful to Jacqui Ansell, Senior Lecturer, Christie’s Education for the detailed information and analysis that she has provided on fashion and costume.

Higher resolution images on request.
Worldwide shipping available.

Board: 14.5” x 12” / 40cm x 30cm.
Framed: 20.75” x 17.75” /53cm x 45cm.
Price : $18,400
Period: 17th century
Style: Baroque
Condition : Excellent condition

Material : Oil painting
Width : 45cm
Height : 53cm
Depth : 2cm

Reference : 1262
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