- Inventory number
- Dyck, Anton van
- Mary Ruthven, Lady van Dyck
- Ca. 1639
- 104 cm x 81 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection (Collection of Isabel Farnesio, Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia, “pieza de la chimenea junto al tocador”, 1746, n. 694; La Granja Palace, “pieza de la torre”, 1766, n. 694; La Granja Palace, 1774; Royal Palace of Aranjuez, Madrid, “pieza de música”, 1794, n. 694; Royal Palace, Madrid, “habitación del infante don Carlos-cuarta pieza”, 1814-1818, n. 694)
In 1639, Van Dyck married Mary Ruthven in England. This lady of Scottish origin died in 1645.
He portrayed his wife with her hair pulled back and an oak-leaf headdress alluding to her husband's name, which means “oak” or “holm oak” in Dutch. She wears a shiny blue dress with a large décolleté, a pearl necklace and a bracelet with which she plays before the viewer in a gesture of clear relaxation.
Given his relation with the model, the artist imbues this portrait with a broad sense of intimacy and affection, embodied in her hands and gaze. With this image, Van Dyck distanced himself from the court portraits he was painting in England during those years, making instead a closer painting of a domestic and private nature.
In 1746, it appeared among the paintings in the collection of Queen Isabel Farnesio.