Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Anthony van Dyck

March 22, 1599. Sir Anthony van Dyck (22 March 1599 - 9 December 1641) was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next 150 years. He also painted biblical and mythological subjects, displayed outstanding facility as a draftsman, and was an important innovator in watercolour and etching. In this image: Auction workers pose for photographers as they hold a portrait made by Anthony van Dyck, during a pre-auction photo-op for the 'Old Master Paintings and Early British Paintings, Drawings & Watercolours' sale in Sotheby's auction house in central London, Friday July 3, 2009.

Charles I

Self Portrait

Charles I and Henrietta Maria

Anthony van Dyck was born in Antwerp in 1599, the son of a draper, Frans. His mother died when he was seven, and a few years later his father was effectively declared bankrupt. Many of his 11 siblings joined the church. Anthony, however, became one of the best portrait painters who ever lived.

Luckily, his skills were developing fast and in 1617 he had a great stroke of luck when hhe Antwerp Dominican church, which had commissioned renowned artists to execute a cycle of paintings, invited Van Dyck. Van Dyck painted his "Jesus Bearing the Cross" for which he received the same amount as his celebrated elders van Balen and Rubens. Fame seemed to be beckoning. Within a year, the artist who was already running his own studio was officially recognized as a master by gaining admission to the Saint Luke guild.

Rubens, who had probably been employing him since 1617 to paint tapestry cartoons, wrote in a letter to a patron that he rated the youth, then 19, as the best among his disciples. A vist to Italy, contacts with European royals and his increasing popularity lead to him becoming court painter to Charles I. Some critics have complained that his later work became stylized and routine; would that all routine work look so fresh and accomplished!

1 comment:

Carla Ives said...

I knew of Van Dyck's work from teaching history, actually. He was part of the curriculum that centered on Renaissance artists. I love his work, especially those of Charles I and the court. His portraiture is marvelous! I also enjoyed the self portrait. I don't think I've ever seen any rendition of the artist before.