Van Dyck, Sir Anthony



Van Dyck, Sir Anthony

Apart from Rubens, Sir Antony van Dyck was the greatest Flemish oil painter of the 17th century. In 1609 he began his apprenticeship with Hendrick van Balen in his native Antwerp and he was exceptionally precocious. Although Sir Antony van Dyck did not become a master in the painters' guild until 1618, there is evidence that he was working independently for some years before this, even though this was forbidden by guild regulations. Probably soon after graduating he entered Rubens's workshop. Strictly speaking Sir Antony van Dyck should not be called Rubens's pupil, as he was an accomplished oil painter when he went to work for him. Nevertheless the two years he spent with Rubens were decisive and Rubens's influence upon his oil painting is unmistakable, although ven Dyck's style was always less energetic.

In 1620 van Dyck went to London, where he spent a few months in the service of James I (1566-1625), then in 1621 to Italy, where he travelled a great deal, and toned down the Flemish robustness of his early pictures to create the refined and elegant style which remained characteristic of his work for the rest of his life.

From 1632 until his death Sir Antony van Dyck was in England as painter to Charles I, from whom he received a knighthood. During these years he was occupied almost entirely with portraits.

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