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Key facts
Full title A Lady with a Fan
Artist Ferdinand Bol
Artist dates 1616 - 1680
Date made 1643
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 83.5 x 69.5 cm
Inscription summary signed; dated
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Miss A.M. Philips, 1946
Inventory number NG5656
Location Room 22
A Lady with a Fan
Ferdinand Bol

This young woman’s semi-transparent collar and cuffs show that her portrait was probably made in the second half of the 1640s, when such a look was fashionable, and when the artist was a young, up-and-coming painter. He had left Rembrandt’s studio, then one of the most famous in Amsterdam, in about 1641 and he was on course for great success.

We don’t know who the sitter is, but she is expensively and fashionably dressed, and wearing expensive jewellery. Her fan, too, was a costly accessory and in vogue at the time. Bol seems also to be emphasising her high social status through her pose, which reflects one developed by Rembrandt from highly regarded portraits by Titian and Dürer. It became a popular device in Dutch painting of the time and was used at least twice by Bol for his own self portraits.

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