William Dobson

Portrait of Abraham van der Doort

Portrait of Abraham van der Doort
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Author: William Dobson
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on canvas, 45x38 cm
Origin: Britain, Before 1640

This portrait is perhaps one of the most interesting works in the Hermitage collection of English painting. Dobson was the first truly independent native artist amongst a dominant mass of foreigners working in Britain. Of course he could not totally avoid the influence of Van Dyck but his portraits were more realistic, revealing a desire to capture the individual's appearance rather than simply express his status. Abraham van der Doort was a medallist, Keeper of pictures and rarities to King Charles I of England, and author of the first catalogue of the royal pictures. This portrait would seem to have been painted not long before his tragic death: van der Doort committed suicide after mislaying a miniature entrusted to him by the king. The artist concentrates our attention on the troubled gaze, creating a contrast between the dark ground and the face appearing from the gloom. Small, vivid brushstrokes fill the image with the fluttering of life.

Style: Baroque
Source of entry: Collection of Sir Robert Walpole, Houghton Hall, 1779

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