ENGLISH SCHOOL, CIRCA 1660s
Portrait of a gentleman, traditionally identified as Andrew Marvell (1621-1678)
oil on canvas, unframed
29 3/4 x 29 in. (75.6 x 66 cm.)
The sitter has been traditionally identified as Andrew Marvell, an important poetical figure in the English metaphysical movement alongside John Milton and John Donne, best known for his poem, To his Coy Mistress (1681).
It has been called into question whether the sitter is indeed Marvell, because he has been depicted with blue eyes. An earlier depiction of the poet in the National Portrait Gallery depicts him with brown eyes, a rounder face, and shorter hair. Also, John Aubrey’s Brief Lives, a contemporary account of Marvell, describes him as ‘of middling stature, pretty strong sett, roundish faced, cherry-cheek’t, hazell eie, brown haire’.