Peter Lely

Portrait of an Officer

1650s
Trained in the Netherlands, Lely succeeded Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) as the leading portraitist in Britain. His predecessor had created a remarkably successful self-image for the country's elite. Lely adapted this model, offering his sitters elegant, cool images. He frequently repeated compositions from one portrait to another; this is an example. The execution is quick and assured, if geared towards efficiency: the quickly applied highlights on the subject's sleeve and sash amount to a formula. Artistic invention and individuality were less important to his clients than the "look"- the shared style that united the sitter with his peers.
Artist
Title
Portrait of an Officer
Date
1650s
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
125.8 x 105 cm
Nationality
Dutch; British
Credit line
Gift of William E.F. Macmillan, Danby-in-Cleveland, Yorkshire, England, 1953
Accession number
6171