Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of King Charles II (1630 - 1685) 1665c.

Studio of Sir Peter Lely (1618-80)

Portrait of King Charles II (1630 - 1685), Studio of Sir Peter Lely
Oil on canvas
17th Century
30 x 25 inches 76.2 x 63.5 cm
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Roman costume of the sort that the King wears in this portrait was an elegant and theatrical conceit to draw comparison between the monarch and the emperors and generals of ancient Rome. It was widely employed throughout Royal and military portraiture at this date, and had its counterpart in the costumes of stage, ballet and masque, in which - in the case of the latter - the noble subjects participated in heroic roles.
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