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Michael Dahl

1 of 166 portraits by Michael Dahl

Michael Dahl, by Michael Dahl, 1691 -NPG 3822 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Michael Dahl

by Michael Dahl
1691
49 in. x 39 in. (1245 mm x 991 mm) overall
NPG 3822

Inscriptionback to top

Signed and dated, lower left: MDahl.pinx./Ao.1691.

This portraitback to top

The bust is a copy from the Venus de Medici (Uffizi; shown in the Tribuna from 1688) of which Louis XIV had owned five copies in both marble and bronze; one of the most admired classical statues, it was regarded by Evelyn as a ‘miracle of art’. [1]
Although sold in 1952 as ‘An Artist’, there can be little doubt concerning the sitter’s identity. Signed and dated, the pose is that of a self portrait and comparison with Dahl’s self portrait at Gripsholm of c.1700 is reassuring.
NPG 3822 was painted soon after Dahl had settled in England, the head of the Venus de Medici declaring a degree of sophistication. Millar, remarking on the rich personal colours and striking French quality, described it as Dahl’s masterpiece. [2]

Footnotesback to top

1) See Haskell & Penny, Taste and the Antique, 1981, pp 40-41, 325-28.
2) M. Whinney & O. Millar, English Art 1625-1714, 1957, p 200.

Referenceback to top

J. D. Stewart, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, p 909.

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, pp 100-01.

Stewart 1983
J. D. Stewart, Godfrey Kneller, 1983, p 50.

Provenanceback to top

[possibly the ‘picture of him in his own hair’ listed by Vertue in 1723, see below] Anon. sale, Christie’s, 7 March 1952, lot 73 (‘Portrait of an Artist’), bought Leggatt for the NPG.

Exhibitionsback to top

British Self Portraits, Arts Council, 1962, no.10; Tate Gallery 1971-73; Face to Face, Liverpool, 1994-95, no.2.


This extended catalogue entry is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Later Stuart Portraits 1685–1714, National Portrait Gallery, 2009, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

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