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Sir Anthony Van Dyck

1599-1641

Flemish Baroque  Painter

 Influences -RubensSofonisba Anguisciola, Paolo Veronese
 

Education -  at age 11 apprenticed to Hendrick van Balen, two years  studio assistant to Rubens

Medium - oil on canvas, etching

Burial Place -  St. Paul Cathedral

One of the Greatest Painters Of All Time

The founder of the English school of Painting

Van Dyck was a brilliant painter. His style differs radically from that of his old teacher, Rubens, although it is similar in technique. He developed his own strong style of Baroque intensity which incorporated the fiery sense of drama he learned from the his old master. 

Was Rubens jealousy of his star pupil?

According to art historian S. SPOONER, M. D., "This eminent Flemish painter was born at Antwerp in 1599. His father early gave him instruction in drawing; he was also instructed by his mother, who painted landscapes, and was very skillful in embroidery. He studied afterwards under Henry van Balen, and made rapid progress in the art; but attracted by the fame of Rubens, he entered the school of that master, and showed so much ability as to be soon entrusted with the execution of some of his instructor's designs. Some writers, among whom D'Argenville was the first, assert that Rubens became jealous of Vandyck's growing excellence, and therefore advised him to devote himself to portrait painting; assigning the following anecdote as the cause of his jealousy. During the short absences of Rubens from his house, for the purpose of recreation, his disciples frequently obtained access to his studio, by means of bribing an old servant who kept the keys; and on one of these occasions, while they were all eagerly pressing forward to view the great picture of the Descent from the Cross (although later investigations concerning dates seem to indicate that it was some other picture), Diepenbeck accidentally fell against the canvas, effacing the face of the Virgin, and the Magdalen's arm, which had just been finished, and were not yet dry. Fearful of expulsion from the school, the terrified pupils chose Vandyck to restore the work, and he completed it the same day with such success that Rubens did not at first perceive the change, and afterwards concluded not to alter it. Walpole entertains a different and more rationalview respecting Rubens' supposed jealousy: he thinks that Vandyck felt the hopelessness of surpassing his master in historical painting, and therefore resolved to devote himself to portrait. One authority states that the above mentioned incident only increased Rubens' esteem for his pupil, in perfect accordance with the distinguished character for generosity and liberality, which that great master so often evinced, and which forms very strong presumptive evidence against so base an accusation. "


 The artist enjoyed great financial success, employed as a court painter to Charles I of England.  He enjoyed courtly life and excelled at portraiture as well as shining in mythological and biblical themes. According to art historian, S. Spooner "His high living had brought on the gout during his latter years, and luxury had considerably reduced his fortune, which he endeavored to repair by the study of alchemy. He left property amounting to about 20,000. In his private character, Vandyck was universally esteemed for the urbanity of his manners, and his generous patronage to all who excelled in any science or art, many of whose portraits he painted gratuitously."

Throughout his lifetime he was in great demand not only because of his brilliant technical abilities but his sharp intellect.  Van Dyck also produced a beautiful series of etched portraits known as the Iconography.

Byzantine 500-1450  Romanesque 950-1250
Gothic 1150-1580 Florentine
Sienese School 1150-1550 Venetian
Early Renaissance  1350-1500  
High Renaissance 1450-1530  
Northern Renaissance 1350-1600  
Mannerism  1510-1600  
Baroque 1600-1750  
Rococo  1710-1790  
Neoclassical 1740-1835  
Romanticism 1750-1860  
Hudson River School 1825-1880  
Orientalism 1800-1885  
Academic Classicism 1865-1920   
Victorian Classicism 1845-1895  
Pre-Raphaelite 1840-1855  
Impressionism 1860-1895
Symbolism  1860-1910
Postimpressionism 1882-1915
Pointillism  1885-1903
Nabis 1890-1898
Tonalism 1880-1920
Expressionism
Art Nouveau 1890-1920
Art Deco 1915-1940
Cubism 1905-1920
 
 

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References - ANECDOTES OF PAINTERS, ENGRAVERS Sculptors and Architects,
AND CURIOSITIES OF ART. BY S. SPOONER, M. D.