Art is honored during the reign of Charles I who appointed Van Dyck in 1632 to the new position of Principal Painter in Ordinary of the King. The royal collections are huge and abound in Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese. The young William certainly accessed them. He is the first English born artist who may claim to equal the great masters. The civil war will decide otherwise.
On July 6 in London, Bonhams sells a self-portrait by William Dobson, oil on canvas 62 x 47 cm, lot 14 estimated £ 200K.
Dobson does not practice flattery and throughout his short career his portraits and self-portraits are ruthless. From 1643, his figures of royalist aristocrats gathered in Oxford to withstand the Puritans are a scathing testimony of this poorly documented phase of the English history.
The self-portrait for sale shows the head of a young man in full front with a thick mustache, a fleshy mouth and eyes wide open on a straight gaze. The lighting of the face on a tenebrist background akin to Velazquez accentuates the shininess of a skin that may be too fat. Dobson has no need of the influence of Van Dyck to create his own style.
This work executed in a heavy impasto is not yet affected by the shortage of materials characterizing his most prolific period at Oxford. It was probably painted in 1640 or slightly before and is one of the earliest examples of the art of William Dobson.
Please watch the video shared by Bonhams. The image is also made available on Wikimedia by the auction house.
SOLD for £ 1.1M including premium