Hidden Santvoort I.1
Based on the Portrait of a Lady by Dirck van Santvoort
Currently housed at Aukland Art Gallery, New Zealand
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The sitters in historical portraits had to look serious. Laughter was forbidden, as were gestures that could be interpreted lightly.
This unwavering requirement explains why these portraits sometimes look very stiff. It is also important to note that the sitter had to stand still for hours on end so that the artist could paint them.
Holding a smile for hours would have been impossible, even if it were allowed. In this work, I extended the precious golden braid of her dress, so that it floats around her in dynamic loops giving movement to her serious expression.
Every detail in these portraits (including a small bit of golden braid) was deliberately chosen to represent the social position of the sitter.