Portrait of a gentleman

Michael Dahl Swedish

Not on view

Born in Sweden, Dahl first visited England in 1682 to assess patronage opportunities created by the death of Sir Peter Lely. After several years of travel in France and Italy he settled in London in 1689, developing a portrait style influenced by Sir Godfrey Kneller, in whose studio he had worked. He became Kneller's chief rival and gained the patronage of Prince George of Denmark, the husband of Queen Anne and a fellow Scandinavian. Until 1973 no drawings were firmly attributed to Dahl but an article in "Master Drawings" by J. Douglas Stewart established a core group, all works previously attributed to Kneller. This drawing joined the corpus in 2018. When compared to Kneller, Dahl's draftsmanship is more restrained and carefully executed–a difference that echoes the two men's personalities. With regard to details, Dahl generally shaded the edges of mouths, added strong highlights to noses and paid attention to the structure of nostrils, all elements found in the present work.

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