In this work Van Dyck took advantage of the austerity of Genoese attire. No matter how sumptuous the fabrics, adults were permitted to wear only black and white. In a bravura display of lighting, Van Dyck defined the marchesa's stark outfit with a cascade of gold embroidery that glistens in the shadows. Beneath these striking tones and textures, Van Dyck elegantly elongated her anatomy. Her skirt and lace ruff disguise legs and a neck half again as long as any conceivably normal proportions.
his behavior was that of a nobleman rather than an ordinary person, and he shone in rich garments; since he was accustomed in the circle of Rubens to noblemen, and being naturally of elevated mind, and anxious to make himself distinguished, he therefore wore—as well as silks—a hat with feathers and brooches, gold chains across his chest, and was accompanied by servants.
one of Van Dyck's first private commissions after he arrived in London in March 1632. Casually bracing a shepherd's crook in his arm, the nineteen-year-old aristocrat engages in a pastoral masquerade. The relationship of the handsome youth to the Arcadian landscape suggests a philosophical attitude that pervaded Charles I's court. A classical concept of ideal love had come to encompass, through Christian interpretation, the idea that physical beauty was a means of spiritually approaching God.I see Titian's colors again here, not to mention another bit of pastoral theater.