Dating to c.1640-1660, this is a spectacular example of an early French portrait miniature!
Measuring 2" x 2 3/8" sight size, this early portrait of a Puritan (or possibly Huguenot) gentleman is executed in oil on copper, and is a fine example of the 17th-century French limner's art! The portrait depicts a young man of perhaps 25-30 years old. His dark brown eyes have a rather a serious look in them, but this contrasts with his round rosy cheeks and the hint of a smile which plays around the corners of his full mouth!
This gentleman is dressed in appropriate Puritan fashion for the mid-17th century. History usually paints the Puritans as drab and scornful of worldly goods, but the English and French Puritans of the 1600s still followed fashionable styles, albeit quite modest ones when compared to the truly outlandish ones seen at Court.
This sitter is clearly a man of fashion, and wears his curly shoulder-length brown hair brushed back from his forehead and flowing naturally. His doublet, likely made from black velvet, boasts a row of gold buttons and is slashed down the front, and his white linen shirt is "pinked" through the seams. He wears a blue cloak over his shoulders, and his white linen collar is neatly folded down in the style of the 1640s and 1650s. His clothing is conspicuously free of the lace and ribbons worn by Royalists, but he is clearly a gentleman of considerable wealth and social standing.
This miniature is set in a lacquered wooden frame dating to the end of the 18th century. The frame measures 4 1/4" x 4", and retains its gilt liner and suspension loop. This portrait has survived over 350 years in all-original condition, and is free of in-painting. There are a few very small areas of paint loss where the miniature has pressed against the wooden frame, but nothing which interferes with the image. The frame was never glazed; oil on copper portraits should not be put behind glass, and whomever framed this work of art 200 years ago knew this!
Recently, the miniature was removed from the frame for examination, and the reverse was taped back up. There is a label on the reverse which appears to date to the time of the framing, as it is written in brown ink, and reads "R. Serint/Jean Brentel." I have researched both of these names, but nothing came up on the internet; it may refer to the sitter or to the painter. The portrait itself is unsigned, but was clearly painted by someone with some academic training.
Simply a rare example of an early and pleasing subject, this miniature will add history and charm to any room! It will make a splendid addition to any collection of early portraits, and I am offering it at a very reasonable price; I got a good deal; why shouldn't you? If you love the best in 17th-century historic portraiture, do not miss this handsome miniature; up to 60-day layaway is available, and USPS Priority shipping is FREE!
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