soldportrait of a gentleman c1650 circle of cornelius johnson

SOLD....Portrait of a Gentleman c.1650; Circle of Cornelius Johnson



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Oil in canvas in good 17th c. style Dutch ripple-edged frame.
Centre right the later applied signature and date 'C.J. 1653'
An excellent portrait typical of Johnson and his Circle; expensively dressed but without pretension, the sitter looks not at us, but to one side as if lost in thought.
He is depicted within the feigned oval often used by Johnson and his admirers.
Hir silk clothing and fine lace are indications of his wealth and status and are carefully depicted.
In a period when black clothing was the fashion artists strove to depict the different nuances and textures of the fabrics as convincingly as possible.
They found that black is an ideal background with which to contrast the crisp white linen and rich lace and this dramatically accentuates the face and hand gestures. This extreme opposition between black and white is both austere and exciting, and is a characteristic feature of portraiture of this period.
CORNELIUS JOHNSON (Jonson, Jansen, Van Ceulen) 1593-1661 was born in London, the son of Flemish emigres.
Although Waterhouse thought he was trained in Holland it seems more likely (as Collins Baker has it) that Marcus Gheeraerts was his master in London.
Johnson is the most satisfying and 'English' of the portraitists working in England in the 1620s and 30s. He has a fine technique with a restrained and introspective style, with careful attention to the costume details.
His accurate portraits are never flattering but a sober and objective portrayal of his usual sitters: the gentry and lesser nobility. His style, and that of his Circle of course, is easily identified by its coolness and restraint.
In 1632 he was made Painter to the King, but his wife's fears of the approaching Civil War caused him to retire to Holland in 1643. He continued to paint for the rest of his life, but was reportedly ruined by the extravagance of his second wife and died a poor man in Utrecht in 1661.
SIZE: 28 x 21 75 inches canvas size
36 x 29.5 inches inc. frame
PROVENANCE: English Private Collection
Internal Ref: 8465

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