Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Group Portrait of Four Children 1650c.

Gerard Soest (c.1600-81)

Group Portrait of Four Children, Gerard Soest
Oil on canvas in original carved and stained frame
17th Century
54 x 43 1/2 inches 137.2 x 110.5 cm
Gilbert Soest (or Zoust) was said to have been born at Soest in Westalphia and to have been about 80 when he died in London in February 1680/1.

His training appears to have been Dutch and he was probably in England by the mid-1640s. he had good patronage after the Restoration but not in Court circles and was therefore never a serious rival to Sir Peter Lely. He does, however, stress the the human rather than social values of his sitters and it is these qualities that can be seen in our portrait which would appear to have painted by an artist associated or at least familiar with Soest's work. Vertue comments on his bold draft, and good Colouring but states that his he did not always execute his portraits with a due regard to grace.

Something of this directness achieved in part through the use of strong drawing and colouring can be seen in our picture, although the artist's tendency to schematise and simplify elements of the composition suggests that it is the work of a provincial hand. The metallic drapery with its angular folds is further suggestive of the style that Soest brought to England and that Vertue singles out for mention: he paintend his draperies of satin with much force and beauty immitateing the Manner of Terburg in Holland.
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