Thursday, March 22, 2018

Anthony Van Dyck. Born on this day in 1599

Charles !

Study for the two daughters of Charles 1

Sir Anthony Van Dyck (Born March 22, 1599 – December 9, 161) was a Flemish Baroque Artist. Who became the court painter to Charles 1. He is most famous for his portraits of English nobility, painted with a skill and elegance that continued to influence English portrait painting for the news 150 years. He also painted religious and mythological subjects, was a superb draftsman and an important innovator in watercolor and etching.

His life reads like a Balzac novel. Born in Antwerp, Antoon (later Anthony) was the seventh son of Frans van Dyck, a prosperous silk merchant. But happiness, as so often happens in both novels and real life, did not last. His mother died when the boy was eight. His father had noticed Anthony's skill, so the boy was apprenticed at the age of 10 (common for the time), to Hendrick van Balen, dean of the St. Luke Guild of painters. 

--> When Anthony was 16, his father went bankrupt and the family was engulfed in protracted legal problems. But luckily, Anthony's skills were developing and in 1617, he had an amazing stroke of luck when he was invited to paint "Jesus bearing the cross" for the Antwerp Dominican church. He was quickly recognized as a master by gaining admission to the guild. He was also employed by Rubens who recommended the young Anthony for more work

Van Dyck brought a subtle sensitivity of his portraits. Painting the rich and famous brought him fame and fortune but he did not suppress his clear eyed, even cynical look at their foibles. And some times tragedies as in the sketch for the two daughters of Charles 1, one of who was to die at the age of two. Unfortunately for us, when Van Dyck became the court painter to Charles 1 and his circle, his paintings became more formulaic. He died at the age of 42 and given his short life, accomplished a amazing amount. Even if his later work is not as psychologically astute as his earlier work, his skill and flashes of brilliance continue to enchant. 

Charles 1 and Queen Henrietta Maria

Mary, Lady Van Dyck

Queen Henrietta Maria

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