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Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577 - Antwerp 1640)

Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641) c.1627-8

Oil on panel | 64.9 x 49.9 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 404429

Queen's Drawing Room, Windsor Castle

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  • This portrait is a testament to the friendship of the two greatest masters of Flemish seventeenth-century painting. Anthony Van Dyck was born in Antwerp and studied with Hendrick van Balen (c.1575-1632); in 1618 he became a master of the Antwerp guild at the extraordinary young age of 19; at the same time he elected to join Rubens’s studio (as an assistant rather than a pupil and at the same time that he maintained his own studio with pupils), remaining there until 1620 and painting some of his most dramatic figure compositions. Van Dyck spent the winter of 1620-21 in London in the service of James I. In October 1621 he set off for Italy (initially in the retinue of the Countess of Arundel), where he worked in Palermo and Genoa as well as visiting the major artistic centres, Venice, Rome and Florence. Van Dyck was back in Antwerp by July 1627, where he was created court painter by the Archduchess Isabella; he remained there until July 1632 when he was in London, being knighted and created ‘Principalle Paynter in Ordinarie to their Majesties’ Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria. He was largely domiciled in England for the rest of his life, through he seems to have had plans in late 1640 to return to Flanders, perhaps to profit from Rubens’s death in May of that year.

    This portrait must have been painted between July 1627, when Van Dyck returned to Antwerp from Italy, and August 1628, when Rubens left Antwerp for Spain. It is copied precisely in the much smaller portrait of Van Dyck, which appears with a group of Antwerp luminaries - including the Archdukes Albert and Isabella and Rubens himself - in Willem van Haecht’s Gallery of Cornelis van der Geest, signed and dated 1628 (Rubenshuis, Antwerp).
    Provenance

    First recorded in the Passage between the Green Room and Closet at Whitehall in 1666 (no 273); in the Gallery at Kensington Palace in 1700 (no 70); in the Crimson Damask Cabinet at St James's Palace in 1720; in the Queen's Dressing Room at Buckingham Palace in 1790; evidently borrowed by George IV to hang in the Rose Satin Room at Carlton House, where it is recorded in 1816 (no 113) and appears in Pyne's illustrated 'Royal Residences' of 1819 (RCIN 922180); taken to the 'Van Dyck Room' at Windsor Castle

  • Medium and techniques

    Oil on panel

    Measurements

    64.9 x 49.9 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external)

    85.6 x 71.8 x 8.8 cm (frame, external)

  • Alternative title(s)

    Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641)

    Self-portrait of Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641), previously entitled