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Still life of fruit and a pie on a table

The Royal Collection has a stunning collection of seventeenth century Dutch art

Gerrit van Honthorst (Utrecht 1590-1656)

George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628) with his Family 1628?

RCIN 406553

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Honthorst was a Dutch painter born and trained in Utrecht. His early career was spent in Rome, where he attained great success as a follower of Caravaggio. In 1620 he returned to Utrecht and largely abandoned religious themes in favour of Arcadian and domestic subjects and portraits. During this period Honthorst received a number of commissions from the exiled Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, sister of Charles I and through these became known to the English king.

In 1628 he was invited to the English court and there painted a number of portraits of the Charles I and Henrietta Maria, as well as several leading courtiers. This group portrait of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham and his family was painted in the same year that the Duke was assassinated. The arrangement of mother and children is probably intended to recall images of the Virgin Mary, Christ Child and infant St John the Baptist.