Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of the Artist's Son, Bartholomew Beale (bap.1656-1714), c.1660 

Mary Beale (1633-99)

Portrait of the Artist's Son, Bartholomew Beale (bap.1656-1714), c.1660, Mary Beale
Oil on paper on canvas
17th Century
18 x 15 inches (45.5 x 38 cm)
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Mary Beale was the most distinguished female portrait painter of the Stuart period. An outstanding painter of child portraits, she accords her son a tenderness that is entirely in keeping with the distinctively sympathetic characterisation of unrelated child portraits. However, whilst the child portraits are, as a group, ''certainly among the most successful works''(1), she further infuses this portrait with a sense of love and pride that denies the inevitable distance of commissioned artist and sitter. The warm light that suffuses the figure is reminiscent of Lely's work of the 1660s and adds greatly to Beale's distinctively attentive mood.

(1) E. Walsh and R. Jeffree, The Excellent Mrs. Mary Beale, (1975), p.15.
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