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Past Exhibition

Portrait Study of Nicholas Lanier

black and white chalk drawing of man standing in cloak with sword at side

Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
Portrait Study of Nicholas Lanier, ca. 1628
Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on blue paper
15 1/2 × 11 3/8 in. (39.4 × 28.8 cm)
Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh; Lady Murray of Henderland gift 1860 as a memorial of her husband, Lord Murray of Henderland

According to an early source, Nicholas Lanier claimed to have sat for seven full days for his portrait. In this preparatory drawing, Van Dyck swiftly laid out the fall of fabric in Lanier’s cloak, the play of his curls, his elegant hands, and his almost supercilious expression. Nonetheless, the artist made a number of changes in the final composition. For example, instead of displaying a glove in his right hand, Lanier holds his arm akimbo with the hand tucked invisibly at his side. Less obviously, Van Dyck removed a curling lock of hair to leave Lanier’s temple exposed.