Anthony van Dyck

Portrait of Sir Thomas Wharton

Portrait of Sir Thomas Wharton
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Author: Anthony van Dyck
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on canvas, 217x128.5 cm
Origin: Flanders, 1639

More than 20 works by the Flemish portraitist Anthony van Dyck are now to be found in the Hermitage, the majority dating to the last, English, period of the artist's career, when he was court artist to King Charles I. A well-known aristocrat, member of the royal parliament, Lord Thomas Wharton is shown wearing the Order of the Garter, which he was awarded in 1635. But he is seen not only with the attributes of a knight - the metal armour beside him, the sword and spurs - but with all the accessories of a representative of the very highest of high society. His right hand Lord Wharton rests nonchalantly on a fine cane, whilst from his left hand droops a rich hat, decorated with ribbons and feathers. The supercilious expression on the face, the consciously imposing stance and rich attire emphasise his social status. In his English portraits, van Dyck skilfully achieves great likeness, whilst adding sufficient idealisation to flatter his high-ranking clients.

Style: Baroque
Source of entry: Collection of Sir Robert Walpole, Houghton Hall, 1779
Exibition: Flemish Art: 17th century

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