Birth Year : 1599|
Death Year : 1641
Country : Belgium
Anthony van Dyck, portraitist, was born in Antwerp. A child prodigy, he signed his first portrait in 1616 and was quite well known when he became a member of Rubens' studio before he had reached the age of twenty. Van Dyck became Rubens' favorite pupil and his most valued assistant. Van Dyck could soon imitate the master's style so well that it was impossible to distinguish the work of one from that of the other. In 1620, Van Dyck was invited to England for a short period to paint court portraits. He spent the next seven years in Genoa painting religious themes in a baroque style and studying the Italian masters, especially Titian and the Venetian School. In 1627 he returned to Antwerp where he continued with his religious paintings and completed a series of etchings - brilliant psychological portraits of contemporary poets and artists.
His portraits became more restrained and slightly less brilliant in color as he began to develop his own style. Van Dyck returned to England in 1632 and spent the rest of his life there as court painter to Charles I. During the last nine years of his life, he painted over 350 court portraits. These are executed in an entirely original style characterized by a warm palette, subdued by his use of cold grays and blacks and by skillful draughtsmanship, and combined in a manner that shows the influence of Rubens as well as the mannerist elegance of Titian. These distinguished portraits of an elegant and almost unreal court became the model for later English portrait painters of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and influenced a vast number of European artists including Gainsborough, Watteau, and Renoir.
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