portrait of a lady c1680 circle of john michael wright

Portrait of a Lady c.1680; Circle of John Michael Wright.



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Oil on canvas in a gilt and ebonised frame.
The attractive sitter, expensively dressed and wearing pearls, the favourite jewel of the period, holds a red rose.
She holds the rose close to her heart and her expression is pensive. In addition to being fashionable, pearls were a symbol of purity, and the red rose symbolised love. Flowers in general also serve as a reminder of the rapid passing of time - that youth, and indeed life, is a fleeting thing. It seems likely that this charming portrait was painted for a lover...perhaps in anticipation of a marriage.
JOHN MICHAEL WRIGHT (1617-1694) was one of the most successful native English artists of the seventeenth century. With earlier contemporaries such as Robert Walker and William Dobson, he was one of only a few English painters to find favour amongst the top echelons of society. At the height of his fame, he styled himself ‘Pictor Regius’ [The King’s Painter]
His career was all the more remarkable in an era when patrons continued their traditional preference for foreign artists, as they had done from Holbein to Van Dyck.
Wright’s success lay in his uniquely diverse artistic background and training. Although born in London, he first trained in Scotland under George Jamesone. He then left for Italy and stayed in Rome for a decade from 1642, working amongst contemporaries such as Poussin and Velazquez. In 1648 he became a member of the Academy of St Luke. He returned to London in 1656, after having spent time in France and Flanders. No other English artist before Wright had travelled and studied so extensively on the Continent.
SIZE:32.5 x 28.75 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE:Old collection, Worcestershire.
Internal Ref: 8861

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