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Michiel van Miereveld, Portrait of a Woman

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Woman
Artist Michiel van Miereveld
Artist dates 1567 - 1641
Date made 1618
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 61.6 × 50.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by George Fielder, 1908
Inventory number NG2292
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of a Woman
Michiel van Miereveld

Michiel Jansz. van Miereveld was one of the most successful portrait painters of the early decades of the seventeenth century. He was a favourite at the Dutch court, and his profile was such that Charles I tried – unsuccessfully – to tempt him to come to London.

This portrait, which is (now very faintly) signed and dated just above the sitter’s left shoulder, is a good example of why he was so popular. It’s painted with flattering precision. The sitter’s face, framed by the white collar, seems almost radiant – van Miereveld used the light reflected from the elaborate ruff to neutralise the shadows. He also subtly matched the background to the colour of her eyes.

We don’t know who she is, though her rich jewels suggest she was a wealthy woman. Our only clue is a fragment of paper stuck to the back of the picture with the remains of an inscription. It reads: Cad(..) rello / ...rta (.) (p?) rello.

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