Wednesday, 16 May 2012

John Opie and Amelia Opie

'Amelia Opie' (1798) by John Opie; National Portrait Gallery, London

I think today's portrait by English painter John Opie, born on 16 May 1761, is simply beautiful. Opie was a portrait painter, completely self-taught, and amongst his sitters were many artists and writers. He was most comfortable in depicting unsophisticated subjects, using the technique of chiaroscuro. He was greatly influenced by the works of Rembrandt and Caravaggio. This may be less evident in the painting of today's post, I think, but if you google the images of his paintings, you can see for yourself. Or let me help you, just click here and here. The painting shown here is of Amelia Opie, an author of novels and John Opie's second wife. John portrayed her at the time of their marriage which lasted nine years and was a happy one. I like the simplicity of this portrait, the plain dress and hairdo. Amelia is beautiful in not being quite beautiful, do you know what I mean? The look in her eyes is loving, which is understandable since she married Opie in 1798 and the painting dates from the same year so they must have been newly weds. This painting really gets better the longer you look at it. How I do love portraits! For more information on the painting, click here.

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