Friday, 5 September 2008
The painter's parents
Amidst a lot that left me rather cold was Jan de Bray's portrait of his parents, c 1664. So solidly, but delicately, fine. Formal, respectful, but intimate. Exquisitely skilled, but way beyond skill. (Much of his work is exquisitely skilled, but touched me not). Heartstoppingly, this was probably painted either after both their deaths or between that of his mother, Anna Westerbaen, in 1663, and his father's, the painter Salomon De Bray, the following year. They died, along with most of their family, in an outbreak of the plague. They were about my age. And here they are, across the centuries. I was very glad I saw the exhibition, just for this.