“Family Portrait”, Jacob Yordan – a description of the picture

“Family Portrait”, Jacob Yordan – a description of the picture
"Family Portrait", Jacob Yordan - a description of the picture - 1

  • Posted by Jacob Yordans
  • Museum: Hermitage
  • Year: 1650-1652

Description of the picture :

Family portrait – Jacob Yordans. 1650-1652. Oil on canvas. 178 x 152 cm

   Looking at this picture, even a layman in the history of the arts will say that it belongs to the Baroque era. You may even notice that it literally represents the apotheosis of baroque. Everything on it is redundant, rich, luxurious. Fanciful poses, lush bodies, beautiful fabrics emphasize the complex composition of the picture, bizarre creases and a very spectacular combination of colors. It is safe to say that the artist experienced the strongest influence of Rubens’ creativity. But this work of Yordan is more decorative than semantic.

   The background for the family group is the landscape, depicted in saturated, dark brownish-green tones. Against its background, decorative elements of luxurious carvings and a large ceramic vessel with a flowering plant are barely visible. But such a dark and intense background in color is excellent for the light, literally shining figures in the foreground.

   A magnificent-haired man is less bright than charming ladies, but no less rich and attractive. It has a bluish-green camisole made of dense silk and lighter trousers to the knee according to the fashion of that time. From under the unbuttoned gates of the camisole and from its sleeves, a snow-white shirt is visible. His clothes look more modest at first glance compared to his dresses, but this impression is deceiving. One has only to look at how the silk of his clothes is poured with different colors, reflecting reliefs from all neighboring things, how it becomes clear that this is a very expensive valuable fabric.

   The long brown hair of a man is curled with curls, and his left hand lies on the lame shoulder of his lugged wife.

   A woman in the center of the canvas is a real compositional focus. Her pale golden skirt is laid by very beautiful large folds. The artist managed to perfectly convey the texture of the fabric – it seems like sprinkled with the smallest golden pollen.

   For harmony of the image, the outfit of a standing woman echoes the color and saturation with the clothes of a man. Her skirt is darker and “dense” yellow with golden overflows, a shawl of the color of the sea wave is thrown on her shoulders.

   Both women have beautiful elegant wreaths of fresh flowers. They and the motley parrot on the ladies’ hand in the center entrust the color palette of the picture.

   The welfare of the family is emphasized not only by luxurious outfits and expensive fabrics. Women are literally hung with jewelry, so the viewer cannot have a different opinion – we have representatives of the rich classes of the then society.