portrait of a young gentleman c1660 attributed to john greenhill

Portrait of a Young Gentleman c.1660; Attributed to John Greenhill.


| $12,473 USD | €10,430 EUR

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Oil on canvas now in a 19th century gilt frame in 18th century style.
The handsome young sitter wears his own hair; the periwig was just coming into fashion and not all the gentry wore them at first. His cravat looks to be of Bruges lace .. very costly, and a la mode. He also wears, wrapped around him, an Indian silk tea gown; these were also highly fashionable and hugely expensive. So much so that, for his portrait, Samuel Pepys hired one, as he couldn't afford to buy.
The young gentleman stands in the classic and much favoured elegant pose, his elbow rests on the plinth of a huge column; this was not just an artistic conceit, but symbolic. The column represents the sitter in that he is the pillar of his House or family; clearly he was the one who was, or soon to become, the head of the family.
JOHN GREENHILL (c.1642-1676), was an English born portrait painter whose initial training is unknown but who rivalled the leading London artists of the seventeenth century.
The Restoration of King Charles II (1630-85) stimulated an upheaval within the cultural sphere, in particular artistic patronage. Portrait painters such as Sir Peter Lely quickly found favour amongst the highest ranks of society, and as a result many continental artists migrated to England in a bid to win the patronage of the monarch, prosperous courtiers and powerful statesmen. Greenhill was amongst very few English artists able to compete with the popularity and skill of foreign artists and just one month before his premature death, he was still considered one of the most talented portrait painters of the age.
Of all the artists to emerge from the studio of Sir Peter Lely (1618-80) – the dominant artist in England in the late seventeenth century – John Greenhill was, as George Vertue noted, “the most excellent.” He is known to have joined Lely’s studio by 1662, but seems to have left fairly soon afterwards to establish his own practice. Vertue claimed that Lely was jealous of his pupil’s ability. He was commissioned to paint a number of leading figures of the court, including Anne, Duchess of York, and even the King. However, his dissolute lifestyle led to the end of promising career – he died barely into his thirties, after falling into a flooded gutter, drunk, in Long Acre, leaving a wife and young family behind.
SIZE:46 x 39 x 3.25 inches including the frame.
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Surrey.
Internal Ref: 9195/6


Height = 117 cm (46")
Width = 99 cm (39")
Depth = 8 cm (3")

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