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On "Peter Lely: A Lyrical Vision” at The Courtauld Gallery, London.
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Peter Lely is best known as the principal painter to Charles II after Charles was restored to the British throne in 1660; he is remembered as the great depicter of the debauched and glamorous Restoration court. Lely specialized in portraits of courtiers and of the beautiful women at court, including the king’s numerous mistresses. He had come to England, however, from the Netherlands twenty years earlier in 1641. It was the year Van Dyck died, which left a space for an aspiring portrait painter. Lely had a successful career as an artist before and during the English Civil War and at the time of the republican ...
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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 31 January 2013, on page 58
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