Analysis of Sir Anthony van Dyck's Painting-Portrait of Lady Anne Carr, Countess of Bedford


Seminararbeit, 2011

5 Seiten


Leseprobe

Sir Anthony van Dyck:

Lady Anne Carr, Countess of Bedford c. 1638

What is most striking about many of the painting of Van Dyck is how lively and flowing the dresses and draperies are represented. One example of these detailed representations of dresses would be the painting of Lady Anne Carr, the Countess of Bedford which has been painted in 1638. The blue dress which she is wearing in the painting is one example of the life-likeness the clothing seems to have in the paintings of Sir Anthony van Dyck.

Van Dyck had been born in Antwerp in 1599. He was the son of a cloth and silk merchant and became the apprentice of Hendrick van Balen. At the age of 15 he was a student of Peter Paul Rubens. These two artists, together with Titian are thought to be the major influences on the work of van Dyck.1

Most of Van Dyck’s works are portraits. One reason for this could have been Peter Paul Rubens. He also did historical works, but only few in number. One example for his historical works would be Rinaldo and Armida. The third genre he worked in was religious paintings. One example for his work in religious context would be Crucifixion.2

The painting is showing a young woman, which is Lady Anne Carr at an age of approximately 23 years.3 She is young and has a light-colored skin. Her face is rosycheeked and she has the first appendages of a double-chin.

Carolin Rychlik The Cultural Heritage

It is a vertical painting and shows Lady Carr up to her tight. She is standing in front of a black drapery which is covering two-thirds of the background. The drapery is floating and covering part of a window or door.

The rest of the background is divided in three areas. The first on the right top of the painting is taken by the sky, which is a mixture of blue and gray.

Then there is an amphora which is taking the middle of the right side of the painting. The amphora is of the style one would imagine an amphora in ancient Greece to look like. It is of a color which seems to be a mixture of brown and yellow.

The lower part up is taken by the leaves of what seems to be a rosebush. The flowers are blowing in two places but are quite difficult to discern between the brownish leaves of the bush.

Lady Carr herself is wearing a blue dress. She has blonde, curled hair which is decorated with a blue ribbon. Her earrings and the chain she is wearing are made of pearls. The pearls look very identical.

The dress has a plunging neckline, which seems a bit strange for a woman in of that time. In the neckline between her breasts there is a golden or yellow looking flower. A chain which seems to consist of small pearl-shaped silver links is spun around her waistline.

Her hands are nearly touching each other and the picture nearly looks like a snapshot which has been taken while she was moving from the window or door behind her back into the room. In her right hand she is holding a white glove, which is covering some of her fingers. It looks like she had been pulling the glove off, but stopped while only half way through.

Over her shoulder and under her right arm there is a scarf which is of a golden or yellow color and which is also nearly lucent. In the left corner of the picture it is floating in front of the black drapery. White quilling are attached to the end of both of her sleeves. Her dress seems to be made of silk or satin.

Lady Anne Carr, the person who has been portrayed in the painting, was the Countess of Bedford. She was the daughter of Robert Carr, Earl of Sommerset and 2

Carolin Rychlik The Cultural Heritage

his wife, Frances Howard, who were sentenced for murder shortly before the birth of Lady Carr. Lady Carr herself was born in the Tower of London and is said to have been raised by her aunt.4

It is said, that when she grew up, she did not know about her parents. In Brown and Vlieghe it says about her youth:

Anne Carr appears to have been brought up by her maternal aunt, Lettice Knollys, and is said to have known nothing of her parent’s past until after her mother’s death, fainting from shock when it was disclosed to her.5

Her parents past also threw a shadow upon her love. When Lord William Russell fell in love with her his father was against the marriage because he remembered her family history, but despite the opposition of his father the couple married.6

Most striking about the picture is the detailed and life-like painting of the dress. This thee-dimensionality and physicality is achieved through different layers of color.7

Van Dyck frequently applied a lighter hue of paint in a freely-flowing and quick manner on top of the folds of fabric, giving them a shimmering and lively quality; the quick and free handling of his paint is close to Titian’s manner, particularly in the illusionism of the drapery.8

Gordenker also states, that van Dyck did not precisely paint the sitters garments, but only drew a sketch after which his assistants painted the garment. After his assistants had finished he painted the final layer of the garments, which led to this lively look of the dresses and draperies in his paintings. This work cycle has been described by an eyewitness who had been in the artist’s studio.9

After having lightly dead-colour’d the face, he put the sitter into some attitude which he had before contrived;

Carolin Rychlik and on grey paper, with white and black crayons, he designed in a quarter of an hour, his shape and drapery, which he disposed in a grand manner, and an exquisite taste. After this he gave the drawing to the skillful people he had about him, to paint after the sitter’s own cloaths, which, at Vandyke’s request, were sent to him for that purpose. When his disciples had done what they could to these draperies, he lightly went over them again; and so, ina little time, by his great knowledge, displayed the art and truth which we at this day admire in them.10

The Cultural Heritage

This is also confirmed by other eyewitnesses who sat for van Dyck and visited his studio.11

Gordenker also states, that this flow of work in the studio enabled van Dyck to add elements to the dress of the people who were sitting for him that were not really there but would fit in the painting.12

Contemporary accounts of Van Dyck’s workshop practice indicate that he did not prepare or intend to paint his sitter’s garments very precisely, but rather worked in a manner that allowed him to embellish or change aspects of the dress - indeed, to make a “romance” of the costume.13

The style that Van Dyke used for his dresses influenced artist from his time to the present. Especially during the second half of the seventeenth century many artists tried to emulate the style of Van Dyke’s costumes.14

Lady Anne Carr was ordered by the Earl of Northumberland. It was only one portrait of a whole series of portraits of female relatives that the Earl of Northumberland had ordered.15

Carolin Rychlik The Cultural Heritage

The black drapery, which seems to be quite simple contrasts the light-colored skin of Lady Carr. This puts her in the middle of the painting and right into the center of the focus of everyone who is looking at the painting.

The leaves of the rosebush behind her are very close to the color of her hair. This makes the painting more harmonious and also implies the association of Lady Carr with a flower.

She looks a bit melancholic, which would match her history up to that point. The painting also leaves the impression that this is a gentle and vulnerable person who would also match with her history like it is being told in Brown and Vlieghe. The way she is holding the glove underlines the impression of a gentle personality. Also the fingers of her hand and the way her left arm is put above the scarf strengthen this impression.

Lady Anne Carr, Countess of Bedford is a very impressive picture. It is lively in itself but in its display of Lady Carr’s dress also displays the lively style Van Dyke is famous for in his representation of dresses. It also displays a melancholy one might expect in someone with the historical background of Lady Anne Carr.

Bibliography

Gordenker, Emilie E. S.. Anthony Van Dyck (1599 - 1641) and the Representation of Dress in Seventeenth-Century Portraiture. (Turnhout: Brepols. 2001)

Brown, Christopher and Vlieghe, Hans. Van Dyck. (München: Hirmer. 1999) Artble 28.03.2011 http://www.artble.com/artists/anthony_van_dyck

[...]


1 See Emilie E. S. Gordenker. Anthony Van Dyck (1599 - 1641) and the Representation of Dress in Seventeenth-Century Portraiture. (Turnhout: Brepols. 2001). (p. 9) See also http://www.artble.com/artists/anthony_van_dyck

2 See http://www.artble.com/artists/anthony_van_dyck

3 See Christopher Brown, Hans Vlieghe. Van Dyck. (München: Hirmer. 1999). (p. 322)

4 See Christopher Brown, Hans Vlieghe. Van Dyck. (München: Hirmer. 1999). (p. 322)

5 Christopher Brown, Hans Vlieghe. Van Dyck. (München: Hirmer. 1999). (p. 322)

6 See Christopher Brown, Hans Vlieghe. Van Dyck. (München: Hirmer. 1999). (p. 322)

7 See Christopher Brown, Hans Vlieghe. Van Dyck. (München: Hirmer. 1999). (p. 322)

8 Emilie E. S. Gordenker. Anthony Van Dyck (1599 - 1641) and the Representation of Dress in Seventeenth-Centry Portraiture. (Turnhout: Brepols. 2001). (p. 58)

9 See Emilie E. S. Gordenker. Anthony Van Dyck (1599 - 1641) and the Representation of Dress in Seventeenth-Centry Portraiture. (Turnhout: Brepols. 2001). (p. 58)

10 See Emilie E. S. Gordenker. Anthony Van Dyck (1599 - 1641) and the Representation of Dress in Seventeenth-Centry Portraiture. (Turnhout: Brepols. 2001). (p. 58)

11 See Emilie E. S. Gordenker. Anthony Van Dyck (1599 - 1641) and the Representation of Dress in Seventeenth-Centry Portraiture. (Turnhout: Brepols. 2001). (p. 59)

12 See Emilie E. S. Gordenker. Anthony Van Dyck (1599 - 1641) and the Representation of Dress in Seventeenth-Centry Portraiture. (Turnhout: Brepols. 2001). (p. 58)

13 Emilie E. S. Gordenker. Anthony Van Dyck (1599 - 1641) and the Representation of Dress in Seventeenth-Centry Portraiture. (Turnhout: Brepols. 2001). (p. 58)

14 See Emilie E. S. Gordenker. Anthony Van Dyck (1599 - 1641) and the Representation of Dress in Seventeenth-Centry Portraiture. (Turnhout: Brepols. 2001). (p. 69-79)

15 See Christopher Brown, Hans Vlieghe. Van Dyck. (München: Hirmer. 1999). (p. 322)

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Details

Titel
Analysis of Sir Anthony van Dyck's Painting-Portrait of Lady Anne Carr, Countess of Bedford
Hochschule
Universität Paderborn
Autor
Jahr
2011
Seiten
5
Katalognummer
V196339
ISBN (eBook)
9783668735088
Dateigröße
390 KB
Sprache
Deutsch
Schlagworte
analysis, anthony, dyck, painting-portrait, lady, anne, carr, countess, bedford
Arbeit zitieren
Carolin Rychlik (Autor), 2011, Analysis of Sir Anthony van Dyck's Painting-Portrait of Lady Anne Carr, Countess of Bedford, München, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/196339

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