Artibus et Historiae no. 65 (XXXIII)

2012, ISSN 0391-9064

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CHRISTIANE HILLE - England’s Apelles and the sprezzatura of Kingship: Anthony van Dyck’s Charles I in the Hunting Field Reconsidered

Focusing on the detail of the king’s protruding elbow in Anthony van Dyck’s portrait of Charles I in the Hunting-Field from 1635, the article assesses the much discussed canvas with regard to the painter’s artistic reflection on the material conditions of royal representation – an aspect hitherto left unconsidered. Demonstrating the influence of Baldassare Castiglione and Franciscus Junius on Van Dyck, the article discusses the artist’s reception of the notion of the sprezzatura as both an aesthetic ideal promoted in Italian art theory, and a technical term current in the Northern tradition. Charles I in the Hunting-Field, it is argued, presents an artistic linking of both schools with the visual tradition of the English royal portrait, by which Van Dyck fashioned both a new model of court portraiture and himself as England’s new Apelles.

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