EARLY 18TH CENTURY PORTRAIT OF A LADY AND CHILD - BY MICHAEL DAHL.
A highly decorative and sensitively rendered late 17th / early 18th century oval portrait, of a lady and child, by Michael Dahl (1659-1743). Housed within a likely original, carved and gilded antique frame.
This attractive portrait is typical of the formula used by Dahl for his head-and-shoulder images of beauties. It is also a shimmering example of Dahl's oeuvre, at a time when he was in direct competition with the pre-eminent portraitist Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723).
The as yet unknown noble lady and her child, are presented against a dark background. Light enters from the right and casts an extravagant shadow, a technique that helps to accentuate both the curve of the sitters neck and also the elegant turn of her head. The sweep of her hair is held in place by glistening pearl hair ornaments.
Within the oval shape of the canvas this portrait has been carefully conjured to produce a beautifully and arresting image. The crisp handling of the sitters frilled white chemise, the lively way in which her costume and drapery are handled. as well as an interesting colour palette are all typical of Michael Dahl.
Michael Dahl (1659-1743) The artist had a broad range of patrons including members of the royal family, the nobility and prominent court office-holders, as well as London professionals and gentry families. The exact date of this portrait however remains a mystery, it is however likely that it was painted in his London studio in Leicester Fields, in which he between 1696 onwards.
Whilst the sitters wistful gaze, and graceful pose, call to mind Dahl's imposing images of the court beauties at Petworth, here Dahl applies his court style on a much smaller scale. The result is this intimate, arresting and jewel like portrait.
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Canvas : 26” x 21" / 66cm x 53.5cm. Frame: 33" x 27” / 84cm x 69cm. Internal Ref: 00079