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You are viewing image NG49
Portrait of George Gage with Two Attendants
Date: probably 1622-3
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 115 x 113.5 cm
The central figure in this work is George Gage, a notable art dealer and political agent in the 1620s, acting for King James I and then Charles I. Both he and Van Dyck were in Rome in 1622 and 1623, and it is highly likely that the painting was made then.
Van Dyck has depicted Gage as an elegant figure in the midst of a negotiation with a dealer in classical antiques. The dealer looks intently at him as he gestures towards the sculpture; while Gage may look diffident, he returns his gaze and seems about to speak. The figure in the background looks across them and directly at us. He holds the sculpture and is also pointing at it.
We could interpret this in different ways. He may be indicating the significance of the piece, or perhaps he is trying to tempt us as prospective purchasers. Either way, we feel drawn into the negotiations as participants as well as observers.
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