Revising the visage: patches and beauty spots in seventeenth-century British and Dutch painted portraits - Tate Research Repository
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Journal article

Revising the visage: patches and beauty spots in seventeenth-century British and Dutch painted portraits

2015

Abstract

In this essay, which includes seven images drawn from various museums as well as the Huntington Library, art historian Karen Hearn examines an aspect of mid-seventeenth-century portraiture—the depiction ofpatches on the face—and contextualizes it in terms of fashion, social and gender norms, medicinal practices, and differences (and exchange) among countries in early modern Europe. Addressing patches shown on the faces of Dutch women painted by Cornelius Johnson, an English portraitist who had migrated to the Dutch Republic, Hearn focuses on his portrait of an unknown Englishwoman in which a patch was subsequently overpainted. Using some English sources, including Pepys’s Diary, the essay considers the practice of patch-wearing by both men and women, in England as well as Holland.

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