Newly discovered portrait of Van Dyck’s brush first exhibited in London Automatic translate
The portrait of Queen Henrietta Maria (1609-1669) by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, considered the last known image of the Queen and lost over the centuries, was recently discovered and put on public display in London.
A small picture, measuring only 76cm x 64cm, is half the length of the original portrait of the queen. Until now, there have been many references to this canvas, known only for a large number of copies. However, all known copies of the painting were of such poor quality that it was not possible to establish authentically Van Dyck’s authorship.
Van Dyck was the most important Flemish artist of the 17th century after perhaps Rubens. In addition, Van Dyck was an extremely successful portrait painter and painter of religious and mythological paintings, an experienced painter and engraver. He arrived in England in 1632, where his authority and the favorable attitude of King Charles I and his court personally enabled the artist to become the country’s main portrait painter. Van Dyck made a lot of portraits of the king and queen. However, some of his paintings were changed and painted over in the 18th century, and only recently discovered. Among them is the portrait of Queen Henrietta Maria, in which she is depicted in the image of St. Catherine. The restoration of the canvas took more than 1000 hours. The reasons why the artist’s works were “hidden” under later paintings are not yet clear.
In the years preceding the Civil War, Henrietta Maria identified herself with St. Catherine of Alexandria, because she devoted a lot of effort to propagating the Catholic faith among the population. This, perhaps, was one of the main reasons for the breakdown of relations between the king and the country’s parliament. Henrietta Maria was born in Paris and was the youngest daughter of Henry IV, king of France. At the age of fifteen, she moved to England and married Charles I. The marriage was very successful. During the Civil War, the Queen fled to France, and her husband was executed in 1649. After his death, Henrietta Maria went to the monastery, and in 1660 she returned to England, to the coronation of her son, King Charles II.
The painting will be on display until March 2013, at the Banqueting House, in Whitehall.
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