Van Dyck PDF Print E-mail
Paris art Studies Autumn 2008
Anthony Van Dyck  1599 -1641



1599 – Born in Antwerp Seventh child of François successful cloth and silk merchant. Two of his sisters become nuns and his brother a priest.

Confident, proud youth very conscious of his precocious talent and technical facility which dazzled contemporaries. Painting at time one of great industries of city exported to other parts of Netherlands and Europe. (panel makers, suppliers of paints and brushes, frame makers and canvas weavers).

1607 – Death of  mother.

1608 – Rubens returns to Antwerp after spending 8 years in Italy, his style will have immense impact on young painter.  Counter reformation art encouraged by Archdukes. Return of worship of Virgin and Saints.

1609 – Enters studio of  Hendrick van Balen who lived next to Jan Brueghel the elder.

Year of 12 year truce that brings 40 years of hostilities bet. Spain and north Netherlands to an end.

1615 – Van Dyck sets up his own studio possibly as answer to failing business of his father.

1618 – Joins guild of Saint Luke as master and also works  as assistant in Rubens studio: the master calls him “the best of my pupils” and he enjoys a superior status to other assistants. Early success as religious painter in Rubens mode.

1640 – Cardinal Infante ruler of Netherlands asks Van Dyck to complete unfinished Rubens commission for Philip IV of Spain – refuses will only paint original picture from scratch.

1620 – First visit to London invited by Italian secretary to Earl of Arundel. Works for King James I. In royal collections and those of Arundel and Buckingham encounters for the first time the works of Titian – a revelation. Absorbs the masters way of modelling in tone, rendering flesh and fabric, the subtle play of shadow and light. Undergoes a profound self-identification with Titian, possibly a way to differentiate himself from overwhelming presence of Rubens in Antwerp.

1621 – Returns to Antwerp and 8 months later leaves for Italy.  Arrives in Genoa in November. Storong  commercial ties  between Genoa and Antwerp. Stays in house of Flemish painter de Wael.

1622 – Visit to Rome. Indifferent to antique unlike Rubens and has little interest in literature of ancient world, only rudimentary Latin.  Primarily a visual intelligence – his Italian sketchbooks full of copies of Titian (200 pages altogether!).

1624 – Visits Sicily probably at invitation of viceroy Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy. Returns to Genoa same year. In Genoa paints famous series of aristocratic portraits of local nobility: modelled on Rubens’ earlier portraits of same class.  Brings to portraits his special gift of depicting lace, satin and velvet and remote and elegant manner infinitely superior to reality of his sitters.

1627 – Return to Antwerp at the time of his sister’s Cornelia’s death. Joins confraternity of Bachelors. Now has well established Italian reputation and is appointed to court of Archduchess Isabella. Very busy but finds time to travel to enemy territory – the united Provinces to paint portraits of including prince Frederik Hendrik  of Orange in the Hague.

Forms his own art collection.

1632 – Moves to London. Charles I, a great admirer of Titian, recognised Van Dyck as Titian’s heir in a conscious echo of Charles V’s patronage of the great Venetian.  Van Dyck appointed principal painter in ordinary of their majesties and knighted.

1633 – Presented with golden chain and medallion by the King. And annual salary of £ 200 in addition to payments for royal portraits.  Given studio on the Thames at Blackfriars (beyond city of London’s artists’ guild  jurisdiction), special jetty for King to land on is built.

Little is known about his mistress Margaret Lemon, declared a “dangerous woman and a demon of jealousy” by a colleague.


1634-35 – Trip back to Netherlands, works in Antwerp and Brussels.

1639 – Marries Mary Ruthven, a Catholic lady-in-waiting to the Queen Henrietta Maria.

His English remains shaky, speaks to Queen in French or Italian.

1640 – Becomes frustrated with lack of opportunities in London. As political situation deteriorates starts thinking about returning to Antwerp. Rubens dies and he is invited back to Antwerp to supervise the Rubens workshop.

1641 – Instead leaves for Paris hoping to work for Louis XIII (royal commissions in the end given to Poussin and Vouet) but returns quickly to London. His health is poor. A daughter Juliana, is born and 3 days later Van Dyck suddenly dies at the age of 42.

“For all the riches he had acquired, Anthony Van Dyck left little property having spent everything on living magnificently, more like a prince than a painter.”


Paintings and drawings:

Portrait of Man from Vincque family c. 1618

Rubens - Artist with Isabella Brandt c. 1609

Rubens – Family of Jan Brueghel the Elder 1612-213

Thomas Howard, count of Arundel c. 1620-21

Self Portrait (Hermitage) c. 1622-23

Desiderio Segnio ? 1624

Porzia Imperiale with daughter Maria Francesca c. 1625

Marchhesa Elena Grimaldi 1623

Rubens – Marquesa Brigida Spinola-Doria 1606

Jeweller Pucci with Son c. 1625

Lucas and Cornelis de Wael c. 1625

Anna Wake  1628

Princess Marie de Bregançon

Maria de Tassis c.1630

Jacques Le Roy c. 1631

Philippe le Roy, Seigneur de Ravel 1632

Abbot Cesar Alesandro Scaglia with Madonna and Child c. 1634-35

Self Portrait with Sunflower 1632-33

Filippo Francesco d’Este 1631-32

Evrard Jabach c. 1636-37

John Belasyse (later Lord of Worlaby) c. 1634

Venetia, Lady Digby, on her Deathbed 1633

Venetia, Lady Digby, as Prudence 1633-34

Mrs Olivia Porter c. 1637

Endymion Porter with the Artist  c.1635

Charles I in costume of the order of the Garter c. 1637

Triple Portrait of Charles I 1635

The Five Children of Charles I 1637 (Charles, James, Mary, Elisabeth, Anne)

Profile of Queen Henrietta Maria 1632-38

Queen Henrietta Maria with Jeffrey Hudson and Ape 1633

Prince Charles Louis Elector Palatine and Price Rupert his brother 1637

Lord John Stuart and his Brother Lord Bernard Stuart  c.1638

Sir William Killigrew  1638

Mary Lady  Killigrew  1638

Mary Killigrew  with an Unidentified Lady c. 1638

Erycius Puteanus c. 1630-31

Rubens – Justus Lipsius and his students c. 1611-14

Orazio Gentileschi  c. 1632

Adam van Noort  c. 1630-31

Pieter Brueghel the Younger c. 1630

Lucas Vosterman the Elder c. 1630-31



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