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Portrait of the family of Lomellini

Painting, 1620-th , 269×253 cm

Description of the artwork «Portrait of the family of Lomellini»

"Family portrait, Lomellini" Van Dyck was long considered to be a pretty picture unknown. Typically, a family portrait in the painting is the mother, father and child (or children). Van Dyck in this sense is no exception. While working in Antwerp, under the command of Rubenshe often wrote to family portraits is very high scenic quality – this is the portrait artist Snyders with his wifeand several others (1, 2).

"Family portrait, Lomellini" is written in the following period of creativity van Dyck, Italy. There is no usual van Dyck Flemish family comfort, but a lot of the Italian dynastic pride. And the main question which we have when viewing it, you have each other falls on this portrait, because of the unconventional placement of the characters it is not obvious.

In the center of the composition – the haughty woman to her right – two small children in brocaded robes, and left the two young men. But if men in the portrait are two of them, which of them is the head of the family depicted? Or maybe all four characters, accompanying a majestic woman in the center, which obviously dominates, is all her children: and young, adults? A little doubtful, as the woman looks so Mature to be a mother of two on the left. But what did it cost van Dyck, potrerito-idealizator to make it in the picture younger? The very to van Dyck, which will soon make king Shorty Charles I handsome and valiant heroand of his wife, frail women-birds with teeth to the outside Henrietta-Maria, – gorgeous melancholic beauty?

The answer to the question, in what degree of relationship are shown in the picture, managed to find the art historians, when they found that the portrait of an unknown (as it was believed until some time) is a portrait of a family of Genoese ruler (Doge) named Giacomo Lomellini. About his family life preserved enough information: for example, that married the Doge was twice, or that his son from his first marriage Nikolo was born in 1590, the year, and his younger brother Giovanni the last – 1601-M. So it became clear that family portrait, Lomellini portrays the second wife of the Doge with her children and sons of the Doge from a previous marriage, and men in appearance just as much as it should be Nicolo and Giovanni at the time of writing of the picture – i.e., a little over twenty and a little over thirty. But then arises the following natural question: where is the Doge? Why van Dyck portrayed the whole family, but did not write his Chapter?

The answer to the question lies in the sphere of Genoese law of the time, which differed significantly from the laws the rest of Italy. Here the Doge was elected for life not (as, for example, in Venice), but only for two years. Moreover, according to the laws of Genoa, all these two years it was strictly forbidden to portray the ruler in the pictures.

In "family Portrait, Lomellini" contains a lot of speaking parts. For example, Nicholas (far right) dressed in shining armor and in his hands are broken the peak. Brother Giovanni, squinting, looking into the distance, his fingers resting on the hilt of the sword. Even a child holding a toy gun. This van Dyck suggests that Genoa during the reign of Lomellini is in anticipation of a war with its neighbor to the North by Savoy.

"Portrait", as we found out later, remained the property of the dynasty, Lomellini before 1830. Now it can be seen in the National gallery of Scotland (Edinburgh).

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Baroque

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1620-th

Size: 269×253 cm

Artwork in selections: 14 selections

Exhibitions history