Mauritshuis, The Hague_ Picture Gallery, The Masterpieces (1)

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Mauritshuis, The Hague Picture Gallery, The Masterpieces (1)

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VERMEER, Johannes Girl with a Pearl Earring c. 1665 Oil on canvas, 46,5 x 40 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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VERMEER, Johannes Girl with a Pearl Earring (detail) c. 1665 Oil on canvas Mauritshuis, The Hague

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VERMEER, Johannes Girl with a Pearl Earring (detail) c. 1665 Oil on canvas Mauritshuis, The Hague

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VERMEER, Johannes Girl with a Pearl Earring (detail) c. 1665 Oil on canvas Mauritshuis, The Hague

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REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn Self-Portrait 1669 Oil on canvas, 65 x 60 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn Self-Portrait (detail) 1669 Oil on canvas, 65 x 60 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn Self-Portrait (detail) 1669 Oil on canvas, 65 x 60 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn Self-Portrait (detail) 1669 Oil on canvas, 65 x 60 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger Robert Cheseman 1533 Oil on oak, 59 x 62,5 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger Robert Cheseman (detail) 1533 Oil on oak, 59 x 62,5 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger Robert Cheseman (detail) 1533 Oil on oak, 59 x 62,5 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger Robert Cheseman (detail) 1533 Oil on oak, 59 x 62,5 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger Robert Cheseman (detail) 1533 Oil on oak, 59 x 62,5 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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DYCK, Sir Anthony van Portrait of Peeter Stevens 1627 Oil on canvas, 113 x 99 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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DYCK, Sir Anthony van Portrait of Peeter Stevens (detail) 1627 Oil on canvas, 113 x 99 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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DYCK, Sir Anthony van Portrait of Peeter Stevens (detail) 1627 Oil on canvas, 113 x 99 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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DYCK, Sir Anthony van Portrait of Peeter Stevens (detail) 1627 Oil on canvas, 113 x 99 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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DYCK, Sir Anthony van Portrait of Anna Wake 1628 Oil on canvas, 113 x 99 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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DYCK, Sir Anthony van Portrait of Anna Wake (detail) 1628 Oil on canvas, 113 x 99 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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DYCK, Sir Anthony van Portrait of Anna Wake (detail) 1628 Oil on canvas, 113 x 99 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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DYCK, Sir Anthony van Portrait of Anna Wake (detail) 1628 Oil on canvas, 113 x 99 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

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Mauritshuis, The Hague_Picture Gallery, The Masterpieces (1) images and text credit   www. Music wav.        created olga.e. thanks for watching oes

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DYCK, Sir Anthony van Portrait of Peeter Stevens Portrait of Anna Wake In 1627, the Antwerp cloth merchant Peeter Stevens had his portrait painted by Anthony van Dyck. When Stevens got married a year later, he commissioned Van Dyck to paint this portrait of Anna as well. Anna was placed on the left, so that she did not have her back turned to Peeter. But actually convention dictated that the man should hang on the left and the woman on the right. After Rubens, Van Dyck was the most important portraitist of his day. He was popular because he made his patrons look just a bit more beautiful and elegant than they really were.

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VERMEER, Johannes Girl with a Pearl Earring This charming portrait of a girl is unfortunately in a very poor state of conservation and suffered from numerous extensive restorations. It is furthermore marred by an ugly pattern of cracks. Nevertheless, it became famous after its rediscovery and was dubbed the "Gioconda of the North" by many enthusiastic critics. Fortunately, enough of the original is left to permit the savouring of a truly outstanding and partly exotic work. The girl is dressed in an unadorned, brownish-yellow jacket, and the shining white collar contrasts clearly against it. The blue turban represents a further contrast, while a lemon-yellow, veil-like cloth falls from its peak to her shoulders. Vermeer used plain, pure colours in this painting, limiting the range of tones. As a result, the number of sections of colour are small, and these are given depth and shadow by the use of varnish of the same colour.

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VERMEER, Johannes Girl with a Pearl Earring The girl's headdress has an exotic effect. Turbans were a popular fashionable accessory in Europe as early as the 15th century, as is shown by Jan van Eyck's probable self portrait, now in the National Gallery in London. During the wars against the Turks, the remote way of life and foreign dress of the "enemy of Christendom" proved to be very fascinating. A particularly noticeable feature of Vermeer's painting is the large, tear-shaped pearl hanging from the girl's ear; part of it has a golden sheen, and it stands out from the part of the neck which is in shadow. The pearl in Vermeer's painting is a symbol of chastity. The oriental aspect, which is mentioned in the above extract, is further emphasised by the turban. The reference to Isaac and Rebecca suggests that this picture could have been painted on the occasion of this young woman's marriage. So to that extent it is a portrait. One must admire the artist's technique, which features application of the pigments in juxtaposition and melting, avoiding precise lines, and therefore blurring the contours of different colours so as to obtain effects that foreshadow those of the impressionists. The dark backgrounds that Vermeer chose in these two portraits enhance the plasticity of the models.

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REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn Self-Portrait This is the last self-portrait of the artist, dating from the year of his death. The expressive freedom of style shows that Rembrandt was certainly not exhausted at the end of his life. The way he painted the face with strong brushstrokes is remarkable.

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HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger Robert Cheseman Robert Cheseman was an influential figure in Middlesex, where he was responsible for marshalling levies. He more than once raised troops for Henry VIII's campaigns. Along with other minor figures at court, many of whom were to rise with the fortunes of Thomas Cromwell in the 1530s, Cheseman was the sort of patron on whom Holbein concentrated during the first few years of his second English sojourn. Such clients were less in evidence once Henry and his royal entourage had adopted 'the Apelles of our time'. These English sitters had more limited intellectual aims in mind for their portraits than the foreign merchants or ambassadors in London. The need for clear, effective portrayal, shorn of symbolism (and expensively painted detail) perhaps accounts for the innovatory use of the information about the sitter, that floats in gold lettering on the blue background, a feature more familiar in miniatures. The artist's regressive abandonment of spatially interesting, illusionistic backgrounds may be another indicator of the undeveloped taste of English clients - a full native understanding of perspective construction did not arise until Inigo Jones' theatre-design work around 1615. Cheseman was the chief falconer to the English king Henry VIII, an honourable position. He had himself painted holding a falcon that he is stroking on his hand with a tender gesture. The head of the bird is capped, because the falcon is not supposed to see anything until the falconer sets him at a target. Cheseman appears to be looking for just such a target, his gaze apparently scanning the distance, beyond the pictorial field. The very fine portrayal of the falcon shows Holbein's great power in observing nature; the bird's presence, signifying Cheseman's wish to show his social status, neatly serves to illustrate human nature.

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