A reduced variation 'en grisaille' of one of Van Dyck's most imposing, dashing yet informal portraits of King Charles I – the painting datable to 'circa' 1635, which is today in the Louvre, Paris (inv. no. 1236), which was recently exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, London for the exhibition of Charles I's collection.1 The fact that the present painting is 'en grisaille' strongly suggests it was executed following a print. What is remarkable, however, is that the two attendants in the original painting, who quieten the horse and carry the King's hunting accoutrements, are omitted here.
Charles loved hunting above all other diversions. In the original painting, and reflected here, Van Dyck portrays the King with a sense of casual authority. He is separated slightly from the rest of the composition – the horse almost bowing in deference – and appears relaxed in contrast to the mild confusion of the figures dealing with his steed beside him. In the present copy, the artist has taken this idea one step further, removing these men altogether to lend even more focus to the King.
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