Anthony Van Dyck Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions
3-22-1599 Antwerp, BEL – 12-9-1641 London, ENGBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Sir Anthony Van Dyck by the age of fifteen was already a highly accomplished artist, as his Self-portrait, 1613–14, shows. He was admitted to the Antwerp painters' Guild of Saint Luke as a free master in 1618. Within a few years, he was to be the chief assistant to the dominant master of Antwerp, and the whole of Northern Europe, Peter Paul Rubens, who made much use of sub-contracted artists as well as his own large workshop. His influence on the young artist was immense.
A great specialist in Baroque portraiture, Anthony Van Dyck is one of the most refined painters of the early seventeenth century and a veritable child prodigy. In 1615, at the age of sixteen, he already had his own workshop. In 1618, as soon as he became a member of the Painters' Guild, he joined Rubens studio, not as a student but as the master's assistant. They worked together, side by side, on several paintings. From 1620 on, Van Dyck's fame as a portraitist began to spread throughout Europe. In 1621, after a brief journey to England, he moved to Italy and decided to settle in Genoa, where he remained until 1626. during his long stay, he spent time in Venice, Rome, and Palermo, where he studied the masters but continued to be based in Genoa, which had close commercial and cultural ties with Flanders. During his time in Genoa, Van Dyck portrayed many members of the aristocracy: decrepit old men and sweet children, young noblewoman and haughty gentlemen. Usually, he painted the face and hands from life, adding the elaborate clothes in his studio. According to an old saying, seventeenth century Genoa did not have a king, but many queens. The features and sumptuous gowns of the Genoese ladies in his portraits give them a truly regal air as seen in Portrait Of Marchesa Balbi.
Anthony Van Dyck, a strikingly good-looking young man with a brilliant, precocious talent, often painted self-portraits. They are all very fresh works, executed with rapid brushstrokes and a free handling, and depict a smiling youth at the onset of his career, viewing the world with confidence and a keen sense of participation. There were inevitably many rumors about his love affairs with the beautiful noblewomen he received in his studio, like the alluring Elena Grimaldi Cattaneo.
Van Dyck The Face and Soul of the European Aristocracy.
Upon his return to Antwerp, still only twenty-seven, he began to compete for supremacy with Rubens and encroached on the master's terrain. He painted several monumental and very successful altarpieces and was appointed a court painter to the Regent Isabella in 1628. in 1632, despite his success in his homeland, he decided to move to England, and in London, became court painter to Charles I. Surrounded by a large group of pupils, during the years spent in England Van Dyck executed hundreds of portraits that were to have a strong influence on the future development of the English school. Except for two trips to the continent, to Antwerp and to Paris during the last year of his life, Van Dyck settled permanently in England where he received a knighthood and appointed him Painter-in-Ordinary.
He not only painted numerous Portraits of King Charles, Queen Henrietta Maria, and their children but also many pictures of courtiers and other notable figures, creating a veritable portrait gallery of the great and good of the period. Anthony Van Dyck immense popularity was due not only to his technical mastery but also his ability to give his sitters an expressive, grace and elegance, as in James Stuart Duke Of Richmond And Lennox, which few artists have ever equaled. His many English paintings are the most important in the history of aristocratic portraiture. The tall, nonchalant figure of the young nobleman, dressed in an elegant black suit with delicate blue reflections, is accentuated by the lean greyhound at his side.
During the reign of George III, a generic "Cavalier" fancy-dress costume called a Van Dyke was popular; Gainsborough's 'Blue Boy' is wearing such a Van Dyke outfit. The oil paint pigment van Dyck brown is named after him, and Van Dyke brown is an early photographic printing process using the same color.