Formal Analysis on Rachel Ruvigny Portrait by Anthony Van Dyke

2135 Words May 23rd, 2013 9 Pages
Formal Analysis on Anthony van Dyck’s Rachel de Ruvigny, Countess of Southampton
Titania Andiani Rosari
Student ID: 24570745
MCD1280 Art Theory A
Essay
January 9, 2013

Formal Analysis on Anthony van Dyck’s Rachel de Ruvigny, Countess of Southampton

There are actually two versions of Anthony van Dyck’s painting of the countess of Southampton; Anthony van Dyck, Rachel de Ruvigny, Countess of Southampton, ca. 1640, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (see fig. 1) and Anthony van Dyck, Rachel de Ruvigny, Countess of Southampton as ‘Fortune’, ca. 1638, Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge (see fig.2). There have been discussions on which between the two is the primary version. Ursula Hoff argued that the painting located
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There is an obvious use of geometric shape of a circle on the sphere to form its whole shape and having organic shapes for the whole figure of the countess and especially the clouds in the background and foreground. The artist has also managed to develop the texture in this painting. He mainly used light and rough brushstrokes instead of thick layers of paint like impasto. Gentle and small brushstrokes build up the figure of Rachel de Ruvigny, from her hair to her gown. These brushstrokes do not appear loose or quick. The shine and the way the fabric flows create the texture of silk (see fig. 6). The application of oil paint has helped in achieving the production of this texture. For the clouds, the build up of paint through dabbing and swirling has made them look soft and fluffy. The sphere is also painted with reflective spots and a smooth surface to create the texture of a sleek fragile orb. Moving on to the colour harmony of this painting, Anthony van Dyck has used complementary colours two of which are blue and orange. The subject, Rachel de Ruvigny, is mainly wearing a blue/blue-green gown as where the background and other objects such as the sphere and skull are painted in this dark hue of orange that contrasts with the main subject. Van Dyck has also used different types of lines in this painting. Firstly, the folds and wrinkles in her clothes are created by soft and sensual lines that have made the fabric more realistic. Also, contour lines have been used to

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