Portrait of John Evelyn by Robert Walker

Robert Walker is largely remembered for his many undistinguished portraits of Oliver Cromwell and shameless borrowing of poses from Van Dyck.

Details

Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
74 x 61 cm
Art Fund grant:
£25,000 ( Total: £294,184)
Acquired in:
1992
Vendor:
Artemis Fine Arts

His depiction of Evelyn, however, is one of the most remarkable of all seventeenth century philosophical portraits. It shows the 27 year-old virtuoso in melancholy attitude, en deshabille, swathed in black drapery and resting a hand on a skull. A column behind is inscribed in Greek with a dictum of Epictetus, 'Repentence is the beginning of the love of wisdom', while the paper which lies under the skull is inscribed with a quotation in Latin from the Stoic philosopher Seneca.

Provenance

John Evelyn; by descent; Christie's, 1992.

Venue details

National Portrait Gallery St Martin's Place, LONDON London WC2H 0HE 020 7306 0055 www.npg.org.uk

Entry details

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