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Old Masters in the NGV

Some more photos from out trip to the National Gallery of Victoria. I was going to say “recent”, but it was back in January. I’ll stick to details from the paintings, if you want to see the whole image visit the gallery’s website, get a catalogue from your local library or go the gallery.  

The NGV has a largish selection of 17th century English and Dutch art along with a substantial collection of earlier art. During the reigns of Elizabeth, James and to a lesser extent Charles and the interregnum, English middle-class Protestant fashion tended to mirror the Dutch fashion, largely due to the influence of Dutch refugees from the Spanish occupation. This is fortunate as it means we can draw from a wider range of art than would otherwise be the case and it comes from a time when the Realism style was on the ascendency.  

Thomas de Keyser, detail of "Frederick van Velthuysen and his wife, Josina" 1636

 The van Velthuysens made their fortune trading with Italy, so sit at the upper end of the middle class. Probably a marriage portrait, both figures wear latchet shoes with very large cut-outs. The heels appear to be stacked leather, if you embiggen the picture, you’ll see the individual stitches in the welts. Josina has smaller shoes than her husband, tiny feet by modern standards, but otherwise both pair of shoes are remarkably similar.  

David Teniers II, "The Gazette" (c. 1635).

David Teniers the Younger, a Flemish artist born in Antwerp depicted a typical pub scene of the period. The figures are mostly from the lower end of the social scale, their shoes are solid, heavy and largely unadorned. There are no cut-outs in the sides, the boy may be wearing a leather jerkin not unlike those from the Mary Rose. 

Daniel Mytens. Detail from "John Asburnham" c1628-30

 Mytens was a Dutch artist working in England between 1618 and 1635. Ashburnham was Member for Hastings from 1628 and was also Groom of the Bedchamber of Charles I. In this painting, he is wearing a pair of buff leather boots with probably a wooden heel and a slap sole. There is a seam between the vamp and quarters that is hidden behind the spur leather.  

Ashburnham’s gloves are shown in the detail below.  

Daniel Mytens, Detail from "John Ashburnham" c. 1628-30

 The right glove has been casually dropped on the ground and is pinned in place by his cane. I suspect it’s made of buff tanned deerskin, not unlike chamois. Decoration is silver and gold wrapped silk laid and couched. Ashburnham still wears his left glove in his left hand.  

Daniel Mytens, Detail from "John Ashburnham" c. 1628-30

 In the image above, you can see more of the embroidery on the back of the glove cuff. The baldric is also visible.  

Cornelis de Vos, detail from "Mother and Child" 1624

 de Vos was a Flemish artist working in Antwerp. The mother in question is a Catholic, shown by both the crucifix and the richness of her clothing. The gloves are finer, but similar to those worn by Ashburnham above.  

Alessandro Turchi, detail from "Charity" 1615-20

 Painted while Turchi was working in Rome, Charity is accompanied by a cupid wearing a quiver similar to one hanging in a tree in the contemporary “Diana and her Nymphs after the Hunt” by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Hendrik van Balen. More on that one in another post.

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