Anthony van Dyck: Portrait of Lord John and Lord Bernard Stuart

Anthony van Dyck: Portrait of Lord John and Lord Bernard Stuart

Portrait of Lord John and Lord Bernard Stuart is a 1638 double-portrait painting by Flemish Baroque artist Anthony van Dyck.

Just as the background and architectural features are non-descript and plain here, the costumes of the two young sons of the Duke of Lennox are almost overwhelming in their silken richness in the 1638 double portrait of Lord John and Lord Bernard Stuart by Anthony van Dyck.

The poses of the two, especially of Bernard on the right, are accentuated to the point of a staged exaggeration. What John’s pose lacks in this is compensated for by van Dyck with his elevation on the steps. This picture was painted before the two set off on a Grand Tour of Europe finishing in Italy. The knowledge of the deaths of both young men during the English Civil War on the royalist side when in their 20s creates a retrospective note of sympathy embedded within the work itself.

This setting is deliberately placed, with the older brother John dressed in gold and younger brother Bernard a step below, draped in silver.

Anthony van Dyck’s Portrait of Lord John and Lord Bernard Stuart is in the National Gallery in London.

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