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


Oil on canvas, 117 x 94 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

After honing his exceptional natural talent in Rubens's studio, in the early 1620s van Dyck began his career as a society portraitist in Genoa, taking commissions from the local aristocracy while studying the legacy of the Renaissance masters. The young artist's haughty pose shows unshakeable self-confidence, which had good foundation: his style was already brilliant, both figuratively and literally. His virtuoso brush invests everything - from the material of the cloak to the glowing youthful skin - with the luster of solid prosperity.

The painting represents the painter at 20, although it was painted later. The picture is based on an earlier, now lost, study. There are two other versions of the painting in Munich and in a private collection in New York, respectively.