PORTRAIT OF A GENTLEMAN IN A BLUE ROBE - ATTRIBUTED TO JOHN CLOSTERMAN.
Portrait of a gentleman, oil on canvas, in its original carved and gilt wood 17th century frame.
JOHN CLOSTERMAN (1660-1711) was born in Osnabruck, the son of an artist. He studied under his father until he moved to Paris in 1679 to work with the portraitist Francois de Troy. In 1681 Closterman arrived in England and began a partnership with established painter John Riley. By 1683 Closterman had established an independent practice; where he became adept at pictures that combined baroque poses . They also had a slight French influence, evidenced in the portrait by the unusual pink and gold colours of the sitters robes. Closterman's clients included some of the leading writers, artists, musicians and physicians of the day, and as his reputation grew he garnered aristocratic patrons, including the Dukes of Somerset and Marlborough. His last documented picture is dated 1704, and he devoted his last years to dealing in Old Master paintings. An exhibition of his work was held by the National Portrait Gallery in 1981 under the title of 'Master of the Baroque Portrait'.
At first glance this charming portrait appears typical of its time. Look closer and the sitter (as yet unknown) wears a the hugest, of fashionable and costly wigs. and it tumbles to below his shoulders! Infact the derivation of ‘big wig’ as a term to describe a person of means and importance comes from fashions like this. A white cravat tied at the neck and a shimmering blue silk robe are further clues that this is indeed an aristocrat or member of the gentry. What really shines from this portrait is the sensitivity with which the sitters face is painted, the subjects calm expression giving a clear indication of his benign nature.
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Provenance: The Waddington Galleries London, Private Collection Toronto.
Canvas: 30" x 25" , 76cm x 64cm.
Framed: 38" x 32", 97cm x 82cm.
Internal Ref: 0023