Isaac Oliver

Isaac Oliver was born circa 1565 in Rouen, France and died October 2, 1617 in his home city of London, England.

His family fled to London as religious refugees when Oliver was a child, and he spent the rest of his days living there.

He was trained in the art of miniature as a young man by English practitioner Nicholas Hilliard. Oliver completed his art education by age 20, and immediately began painting miniatures.

Oliver married three times, fathering 7 children total. He lived in the city, earning enough money to sustain himself and his family.

He worked primarily as a portrait painter, but was a prominent miniature painter as well. Some of Oliver's famous works include the portraits of Anne of Denmark and the Prince of Wales, as well as Elizabeth 1 and the Three Goddesses.

Oliver did not have one set patron: rather, he was sponsored by whoever chose to pay for his services.

Edward Herbert, portrait, by Isaac Oliver. circa 1610-1617.

This piece was found in the online edition of the National Portrait Gallery of the United Kingdom.

This portrait is a perfect example of Oliver's naturalistic style which he adopted from his teacher. The focus on the natural elements of the photo is arguably greater than on the person.

I enjoy this piece because of its originality; it is not often that a portrait is painted of a nobleman lying down in the middle of the woods.

Oliver's work largely reflects his affliction with nature, one that he attained from studying foreign artwork with his teacher. Many of his paintings that aren't portraits natural scenery as a cornerstone rather than as a background.


Earl, Diane. Portrait of Edward Herbert. Digital image. NEN Gallery. N.p., 5 Aug. 2007. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.

"Isaac Oliver." International Dictionary of Art and Artists, Gale, 1990. Gale Biography In Context, Accessed 6 Dec. 2016.

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