Foreigners in London

Holbein, Gheeraerts, Gentileschi, Mytens, Rubens, van Dyck, Dobson, Hollar, Lely, Kauffmann

3 October - 5 December 2017
Tuesdays 10.45am - 12.45pm
The University Women’s Club, 2 Audley Square, London W1K 1DB
Leslie Primo
Full course (10 lectures) £499.00
Single lecture £59.00
(includes morning coffee, tea and biscuits)

Book your place now on Foreigners in London Course

“Truly outstanding”
“Leslie has enlightened us and taught us how to read art. His approach of thoroughly studying a small number of paintings to address this and the fact that many are actually in the National Gallery”

Why did the aristocracy in London prefer foreign painters to native-born English ones? Why did foreigners come in the first place? What was their motivation and what was the impact of foreigners on English art and art practice? This course will trace foreign artists from the Tudors to the Neo-Classical looking at their origins and how they came to work in England. It will examine the contributions of Holbein, Gerrit van Honthorst, Marcus Gheeraerts the younger, Lucas and Susanna Horenbout, Isaac Oliver, Paulus van Somer, van Dyck, Peter Lely, Rubens and others. It will look at how these artists influenced the British School of painting and assess their legacy. It will also examine the impact of the Italian and Northern Renaissance on British painting, the mania for portrait paintings, the rise of miniature paintings, the use of engravings and the painting requirements of both royalty and politics. Finally, it will assess the position of the painter in London’s political landscape.

The Executioner with the Head of John the Baptist, William Dobson c.1640
Portrait of Philadelphia and Elisabeth Wharton, Anthony van Dyck Orazio Gentileschi, Diana the Huntress c.1650

Course outline

Hans Holbein and his Antecedents

This lecture will look at the work in London of Hans Holbein. His involvement with Henry VIII, his paintings of the English aristocracy and the painting tradition from which the Holbein style emerged. It will also look at some of the lesser known artists, Susanna and Lucas Horenbout and Isaac Oliver, who came to London before Holbein, and explore their influence on English born artists such as Nicolas Hilliard.

Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger and the Huguenot artists in London

The impact on British portraiture especially of Marcus Gheeraerts II and his involvement with Huguenot artists such as John de Critz the Elder, Paulus van Somer, Lucas de Heere, Guillim Scrots, and the English painters Robert Peake the Elder and George Gower will be examined. As a result of their success in London, we will also consider the resentment this caused among them.

Orazio & Artemisia Gentileschi at the Court of Charles I

Emerging out of a Caravaggio influenced Baroque tradition of painting, we will examine the life of the Italian Orazio Gentileschi and his time in London, painting at the court of Charles I. We will first explore his time in Pisa, Rome and Genoa and then look at what is now regarded as his most famous work, the ceiling at the Queen’s House in Greenwich. What, if any involvement, did Orazio’s daughter, Artemisia Gentileschi, have in this project?

Daniel Mytens, Denizen of England

Before van Dyck and Rubens, there was Daniel Mytens the painter from The Hague. We will explore his life at the court of James I and subsequently Charles I, look at his training and influences, his rise to fame at the English court, the introduction of his new Renaissance/Baroque style of painting to the London aristocracy and his involvement with the Earl and Countess of Arundel.

Peter Paul Rubens, painter, diplomat, statesman

What was the impact of this artist who never really settled in London but was invited to it by Charles I and subsequently knighted by him? We will look at Rubens’ travels in Italy, the influence of the Classical world and Italian Renaissance on his style, and in particular that of the Venetian painter Titian. We will conclude by examining Rubens’ major works in London including ‘Peace and War’ and his great ceiling painting at The Banqueting House in London.

Anthony van Dyck, gentleman painter

Rubens’ most successful pupil, Anthony van Dyck had the ability to win over England’s most influential courtiers. Coloured by his obsession with Titian, he introduced the Italian style of painting to England. Van Dyck was eventually usurped by Daniel Mytens’ but by comparing the works of both artists, we will see how van Dyck became principle painter to Charles I.

William Dobson (1611–1646) ‘the most excellent painter that England hath yet bred’

The culmination of all of these foreign influences will be explored in the work of a London born painter – William Dobson. Artists such as van Dyck, Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese were never far from his style along with his interest in the Classical world.

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607–1677), Chronicler of London

Hollar was an artist and master engraver from Prague who became intimately involved with London not only documenting its views and London Bridge but also contemporary trials and executions. We will explore the influence on Hollar by van Dyck, Holbein and the European painting tradition and how he met the demand for the production of posthumous portraits in the Royal Collection (in the form of engravings) as well as his interest in wildlife and textures in materials.

Peter Lely (1618–1680), ‘A Mighty Proud Man, Full of State’

Peter Lely came from Westphalia and dominated painting in London both at the time of Charles I and during the interregnum times of Oliver Cromwell. We will explore his intense interest in the Classical world, his major works and influences, and how he managed to steer a careful course among London’s patrons during a most turbulent time in English history.

Angelica Kauffmann (1741–1807), an C18th artist in England

Finally, we emerge out of the 17th century and into the 18th and 19th centuries with the Neo-Classical artist Angelica Kauffmann. We begin by exploring the legacy of women artists before moving on to the early years and training of Kauffmann, her time on the Continent, professional relationships with notable painters, revolutionaries and philosophers. This will be followed by a look at her portrait work in London and her critics. It will end with her final years in Italy.