DYCK, Sir Anthony van
(b. 1599, Antwerpen, d. 1641, London)
Charles I of England and Henrietta of Francebefore 1632
Oil on canvas, 67 x 83 cm
Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence
In April 1632 King Charles I (1600-49) succeeded in attracting Van Dyck, in demand as a painter of religious and mythological pictures as well as of portraits in Antwerp, to London. In July of that year the artist, now Principal Painter in Ordinary to their Majesties, was knighted at St James's. From that time he was to have a virtual monopoly of portraits of the king and queen on the scale of life, having rendered the work of his predecessors at court old-fashioned. In a series of huge canvases strategically placed at the end of great galleries in the king's various residences, he displayed the power and splendour of the British monarchy and of the early Stuart dynasty, modernising traditional themes of royal panegyric.