L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Young Man Seated Under a Tree, a miniature by Isaac Oliver, circa 1590-95

This tiny image is one of my favorite paintings. Ever. In the Royal Collection, it is painted in watercolor on vellum laid on card, and only measures 12.4 x 8.9 centimeters (4.88 x 3.50 inches). Though there has been much speculation and much serious research done, the identity of the sitter still remains unknown.

Isaac Oliver (or Olivier; circa 1565, Rouen – buried 2 October 1617, London), French-born English portrait miniature painter. Oliver’s French Huguenot parents took him to England about 1568 to escape the Wars of Religion in France. There he later studied under the miniature painter Nicholas Hilliard, developing a naturalistic style which was largely influenced by Italian and Flemish art. Oliver soon won renown and royal patronage for his miniatures, including portraits, religious, and classical scenes. His first wife, Elizabeth, died in 1599 and in 1602 he married Sara, daughter of the well-known portrait painter Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder. After the death of Elizabeth I, he became a court painter of James I, painting numerous portraits of James' queen, Anne of Denmark, and Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales. The artist's son by his first marriage, Peter Oliver, had studied with his father and, employing his later style, became an eminent miniaturist in his own right.


  1. I love this painting too. The amount of detail and expressiveness he manages to pack into such a tiny painting is really staggering. That face is so wistful, full of some kind of sad longing. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Wow, this is amazing! I did not know about this artist o miniature! So much wonderful detail in this, France lost some talented people during this time. England's gain.