Friday, March 22, 2013

March 22 - Anthony van Dyck

Flemish Baroque painter Sir Anthony van Dyck was born on March 22, 1599, in Antwerp (now Belgium). The precociously talented son of a wealthy textile merchant, he entered the studio of Peter Paul Rubens, one of Europe's most prominent artists, while a teenager. He gained fame as a successful portraitist in Italy, and then in the 1630s became the court painter to King Charles I of England, a notorious cheapskate who nonetheless knighted him. A genius at portraiture, Van Dyck’s court paintings are all about dazzling surfaces, at once formal and relaxed, his elegant subjects symbolically accessorized, posed in rich settings, exhibiting aristocratic hauteur. But other works are strikingly down-to-earth, often exposing more truth than the subjects may have realized. His deep influence on portraiture is still evident in contemporary art. Pictured: Lord John Stuart and Lord Bernard Stuart, c. 1638.

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