Meadow Brook’s Lost Painting Project has restored a former painting to a place of prominence inside the Great Hall, new to visitors but quite familiar to the family and the estate.
Adorning the red velvet in front of the organ tower in the Great Hall now hangs an exceptional replica of the Portrait of Paolo Giordano II Orsini, Duke of Bracciano by Sir Anthony Van Dyck. Van Dyck began his artist journey as an apprentice to Peter Paul Rubens, one of the greatest painters of the Baroque period.
Born in Antwerp, Belgium, Van Dyck became one of the most prominent Flemish-style painters in Europe during the 17th century Baroque period. Van Dyck became a sought-after portraitist and a painter of mythological paintings.
He was often inspired by Titian, considered by many the greatest painter of the 16th century. Equestrian Portrait of Charles I, a portrait by Van Dyck from about 1637-8, set a new standard for English portraiture and from then on nobles of Europe aspired to get Van Dyck for their own portraits.
The Duke of Bracciano depicts Paolo Giodano II Orsini, an Italian nobleman, art collector, and grandson of the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de Medici.
The original painting from Meadow Brook’s collection was sold at auction-along with many others in 1970; afterwards it was cut down by several inches and now lives in a private art collection in Europe.
After Matilda Wilson’s death in 1967, some of Meadow Brook Hall’s largest and finest pieces of art were sold at auction or bequeathed to her family. Through the Lost Painting Project, Meadow Brook seeks to restore the historic mansion’s remarkable art collection through exceptional replicas hung in their original locations.
Today, Meadow Brook’s Duke of Bracciano is one such replica, set in a custom-fitted frame, and located in the same spot as the original painting once hung.
View the Duke of Bracciano and more astonishing paintings by famous artists like Van Dyck with a visit to Meadow Brook Hall. Plan your visit at meadowbrookhall.org/tours.
For more stories about Meadow Brook, its collection and the people who once lived and worked here, visit our History at The Hall storytelling series.