21 April 2015

Mark Rylance by Dirk Bouts

When I am watching Mark Rylance as Cromwell in Wolf Hall on Masterpiece, I keep thinking how much he looks like any number of men in Early Netherlandish paintings ... not that I can find any real "separated at birth" comparison. You just have to be in love with that melancholy, thoughtful, mask-like but realistic, somber, still portrait style.
This is the "Justice of the Emperor Otto: The Ordeal by Fire" by Dirk Bouts, now in the collection of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp. (Photo from WikiArt) All of these faces are younger. The look is partly in the sad and unrevealing eyes and long straight nose but also in the beauty of the years that show in Rylance/Cromwell's face.

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