portrait of a nobleman 1639 follower of cornelius johnson

Portrait of a Nobleman 1639; Follower of Cornelius Johnson.


Price

POA

Item Ref

8900

Description

Oil on canvas in a fine late 17th century carved and giltwood frame.
To the left, the sitters coat of arms and his age, 27, and the date 1639.
As yet unidentified, the arms are those of a peer of the realm as witnessed by the helmet with a grille of gold. Unusually, the arms have supporters in the form of 'wildmen' or 'woodwose'; supporters are rare and a great honour in heraldry.
"In the 1630s even a simple black suit of a quality fit for court wear cost as much as the rent of a London house for a year, clothes are vital signifiers of rank and wealth"
' Cavalier' by Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator of the Historic Royal Palaces.
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 to 40s. 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:37.5 x 32 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Country House Collection, County Durham.
Verso: old trade label for 'Joseph Cooke, Art Connoisseur' of Aston, Birmingham.
Internal Ref: 8900



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