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The Courtauld has drawn together a sensual group of canvases from early in the career of Peter Lely, England's leading painter from the Civil War to the end of Charles II's reign.
Although he is chiefly remembered today for his portraits of languid society beauties, Lely produced a number of lyrical subject pictures in his early career, their poetic character presenting a contrast with the political turmoil of the times.
This group of enigmatic paintings are large in scale and united by strong lighting, idealised landscape settings and a sense of theatricality and sensuality. Twelve of these beautiful canvases will be reunited in the Courtauld’s winter show.
What the critics say
The exhibition centres on one of the oddest paintings in the Courtauld's collection: The Concert, of circa 1650
A small, titillating show shines a new light on a 17th-century court painter’s erotic early works