Saturday, 21 March 2015


Self portrait when he was 16 years old
22 March 1599 – 9 December 1641
Flemish Baroque Era Painter

If you look at the dates above, Anthony van Dyck was born at the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and was at his height during the turbulent Stuart dynasty. It is difficult to reconcile the delicate and sensitive portraits above, with those of Holbein and others from the Tudor era, which seem wooden and unrealistic in comparison. It is not surprising therefore that Van Dyck was highly sought after during his lifetime and still inspires awe today.

Van Dyck apprenticed under Peter Paul Ruebens who was the premier artist of his day. This is where he honed his compositional skills. This portrait of a young girl masterfully uses light and shade to guide the eye through the composition. The softened highlights emphasize the bloom of youth and beauty. The pearls also enhance that dewy fresh look. There is a real sense of the character of the sitter, as if she was about to play a trick on the painter.

Anthony van Dyck is another talented artist that left this world long before his time aged only 42.

You can read more about Anthony van Dyck here.