- Paul Van Somer, Dutch, 1576-1621
Paul van Somer
Flemish, 1576–1621, active in England
Portrait of a Young Lady, about 1620
Oil paint on wood panel
Promised Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust, TL-17944
This picture reflects the taste for naturalism in both portraiture and fashion that developed in the early 17th century. Paul van Somer portrays his sitter with a relaxed demeanor and lifelikeness that contrast with the masklike formality of the previous decades’ portraiture. The artist, who enjoyed a successful career in Amsterdam, was named painter to James I soon after moving to London in 1616. The Berger picture is one of a small number of works by van Somer in American collections.