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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, January 06, 2012

the artist's wife - and dog

thanks wikimedia commons. public domain via the yorck project.

Anthonis Mor (1517 - 1577) originated from the Netherlands, but his life and career took him a great many places: Portugal, England, Spain.  He painted portraits of many of Europe's highest and greatest people; I was surprised to realize it was his hand that created the one best known portrait of Mary I of England.  That same portrait won him a place in King Philip of Spain's court, which he left in 1561.  Here's confidence for you:  after that year Philip wrote him numerous times asking Mor to return, but he wouldn't.  You can see that something of that groundedness in his portraits: serious faces, muscles and sinews tense with the weight of the world, a weight that seems even to cast shadows over his palette.  
So what am I to make of this 1554 portrait of a woman, said to be Mor's wife Metgen?  It's not a great reproduction, but I can still see that her hands are strong and her expression guarded.  You'd probably be on your guard too if your husband spent time one on one with the people who make or break the fate of nations.  Her dog seems to be showing all the concern she's hiding, but then again, that looks like a toy spaniel and spaniels look worried at the drop of a hat.  I like the way her fingers have spread out over the dog's tiny flank, as if to give it shelter.
Have a look at the Wikipedia page on Mor to see how much he accomplished.  

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