Study of a young girl

Sir Godfrey Kneller German

Not on view

Born in Lübeck, Kneller joined the army before deciding to pursue an artistic career. He trained in Amsterdam, traveled to Italy, and reached England around 1676. The recent death of Sir Peter Lely, England’s leading portraitist, opened an unanticipated path to success. By 1680, Kneller was Charles II’s court artist and held that position under successive monarchs while also operating a successful London portrait studio. His drawings are rarely found outside Britain, and this study of a young girl is uncharacteristically lively when compared to chalk studies that the artist routinely made in preparation for paintings. The subject’s expression conveys a distinct individuality, enhanced by loosely piled hair and bunched ribbons affixed to shoulder and bodice.

Study of a young girl, Sir Godfrey Kneller (German, Lübeck 1646–1723 London), Black chalk

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