DYCK, Sir Anthony van
(b. 1599, Antwerpen, d. 1641, London)

Portrait of Virginio Cesarini

Oil on canvas, 105 x 86 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

The sitter of this portrait is the poet Virginio Cesarini (1594-1624). He was one of the most interesting personalities in Rome towards the end of the 1610s, being close not only to Cardinal Maffeo Barberini but also to Galileo Galilei, who dedicated his ground-breaking volume Il Saggiatore to him in 1623. Van Dyck's portrait reveals tremendous intelligence and sensitivity shining through a frail physique.