Art e-facts
Did you know . . .?
. . . Paul Cezanne painted more than 200 still-life compositions in his lifetime?

. . . the first pigments used in painting were ground from earth, minerals and organic matter?

    Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599 - 1641)
Apart from Rubens, Sir Anthony van Dyck was the most important Flemish painter of the 17th Century. After a brief apprenticeship with van Balen, he became a member of the Antwerp painter's guild and in 1618 came under the tutorship of Ruben's himself working as the great master's assistant. Ruben's influence was powerful. Van Dyck's work gained a fluency and grace which was conferred on every subject.

Van Dyck achieved success in Italy (1621-28) painting grand aristocratic portraits such as Presumed Portrait of the Marchesa Geromina Spinola-Doria of Genoa. Court painters all over Europe attempted to imitiate his approach to subjects and the types and poses he established. Van Dyck's exquisite brushwork and characterisation was, however unmatched and earned him an invitation to travel to England (1621) from Charles I. He soon became court artist and apart from short trips to the continent, remained in England for the rest of his life. He was knighted by the King, who admired his social graces and ettiquette as well as his painting skill. Van Dyck's Charles I, King of England, Hunting gives us an extremely informal view of the King at a pause in the chase reflecting the ease of the relationship between the artist and His Majesty. Charles was a descriminating and perceptive collector and patron and, though many works were later lost to royal collectors in France and Spain, The Royal Collection is still enriched by 26 van Dycks.

Though van Dyck also painted religious scenes and landscapes and began a series of etchings of famous contemporaries, it is for his portrait painting that his immortality has been assured. Indeed he will be remembered as one of the geartest portrait painters ever. English portrait artists especially were enriched by van Dyck's incomparable skill for painting materials and the elegance and refinement conveyed upon his sitters. His influence in portrait painting can be traced through to Sargent (1856-1925).

Gowing, L. (1987) Paintings in the Louvre. New York, U.S.A.: Stewart, Tabor & Chang.
Buy this book from Amazon.com

Laclotte, M. and Cuzin, J-P. (1993) The Louvre: European Paintings. London: Scala Publications Ltd.

Piper, D. (1981). The Dictionary of Painting & Sculpture, Art & Artists, Painters & Sculptors, Terms & Techniques. London: Mitchell Beazley Publishers.

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