The best John Michael Wright?

April 11 2012

Image of The best John Michael Wright?

Picture: SNPG

A reader writes:

Thank you for the Hampton Court notice, but isn't Wright's best portrait the wonderfully subtle image of the architect fellow [Sir William Bruce, above] in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery? Hope I don't sound obsessive, but I am a bit about Wright who is undeservedly obscure and sometimes mis-catalogued as 'follower of Lely'.

As a fellow John Michael Wright obsessive, I'm delighted to hear of other Wright fans. And yes, Wrights are very often catalogued as 'follower of Lely', or 'follower of Kneller'. I've been lucky enough to find quite a few over the years. The SNPG portrait is indeed very fine. But personally I don't think many English portraits of the 17th Century can beat Wright's depiction of Charles II for drama and sheer majesty. If you have a favourite Wright, let me know. 

Update - a reader writes:

JM Wright is wonderful but don't you feel the foreshortening of the sitter's left arm in that SNPG picture is rather feeble? And the head all out of proportion with the body? [...] My favourite painting, for what it's worth:

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