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

Portrait of the Artist Marten Pepijn

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Oil on panel, 72 x 56 cm
Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp

Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens, often named in the same breath, are the most prominent artists of the Flemish Baroque. The trio dominated artistic life in the Southern Netherlands throughout the 17th century. All three made an enormous contribution to the fame of the city of Antwerp, but it is Rubens who bears the greatest authority, because he was the most versatile and talented.

The youngest of the three great masters was Anthony van Dyck. He worked with Rubens for a time in his youth, after which he spent most of his career in England and Italy. He was even more admired in England than in his own country, and he had a significant influence upon English painting. Van Dyck's oeuvre, less varied than that of Rubens, consists mainly of brilliant portraits. His sensitive personality and restless temperament were brought to bear in penetrating psychological studies of members of leading families, the nobility and royalty. His sober Portrait of Marten Pepijn shows the artist as an energetic man of fifty-eight years, depicted in a black jerkin with a refined pleated collar.