Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a Boy in White 

16th Century English School 

Portrait of a Boy in White, 16th Century English School
Oil on Panel
16th Century
24 1/2 x 19 3/4 inches, 62cm x 50cm
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The present work occupies an important place in one of the most significant periods of transition in history of British portrait painting.

It symbolizes a half-way point between the portraiture from the Elizabethan period, recognizable by its meticulous attention to clothing to the detriment of facial characterization, and the mid-Stuart period, after the final arrival of Van Dyck in 1632 and his introduction of dynamicity into the British portrait. The young boy in the present work displays a greater sense of naturalism than in the earlier Elizabethan panels, where the figures tend to be more attenuated and frequently dwarfed amongst expansive compositions.

Although at present unknown, the artist shows a clear familiarity with the work of established painters of the day, such as Marcus Gheeraerts (1561/2-1636) who, like many great painters of that period, came over from the continent to paint members of the royal court.
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