Past Exhibition

Van Dyck: The Anatomy of Portraiture
March 2, 2016 to June 5, 2016
Half length oil portrait of a woman with a blue dress wearing pearls, set against a brown background

Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641), one of the most celebrated and influential portraitists of all time, enjoyed an international career that took him from his native Flanders to Italy, France, and, ultimately, the court of Charles I in London. Van Dyck’s supremely elegant manner and convincing evocation of a sitter’s inner life — whether real or imagined — made him the favorite portraitist of many of the most powerful and interesting figures of the seventeenth century. This was the most comprehensive exhibition ever organized on Van Dyck’s activity and process as a portraitist and the first major exhibition on the artist to be held in the United States in over twenty years. Through approximately one hundred works, the exhibition explored the astounding versatility and inventiveness of a portrait specialist, the stylistic development of a draftsman and painter, and the efficiency and genius of an artist in action. Lenders included the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the British Museum and National Gallery in London, the Prado Museum in Madrid, and major private collectors such as the Duke of Devonshire and the Duke of Buccleuch. full-length portrait of a church cardinal wearing red robes, seated and holding a bookVan Dyck: The Anatomy of Portraiture was organized by Stijn Alsteens, curator of Northern European drawings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Adam Eaker, Guest Curator at The Frick Collection. The exhibition catalogue, copublished with Yale University Press, features contributions by the curators as well as An Van Camp, Ashmolean Museum; Bert Watteeuw, Rubenianum, Antwerp; and Xavier F. Salomon, The Frick Collection. 


Read a related blog post by Xavier F. Salomon, Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, about Van Dyck's Cardinal Guido Bentivoglio.


Principal support for Van Dyck: The Anatomy of Portraiture was provided by Barbara and Brad Evans with additional leadership contributions from The Honorable and Mrs. W. L. Lyons Brown and an anonymous gift in memory of Melvin R. Seiden. Major support for the exhibition has also been provided by Melinda and Paul Sullivan, The Christian Humann Foundation, Aso O. Tavitian, The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, John and Constance Birkelund, Mrs. Daniel Cowin, Margot and Jerry Bogert, Gilbert and Ildiko Butler, Fiduciary Trust Company International, Mrs. Henry Clay Frick II, the General Representation of the Government of Flanders to the USA, Howard S. Marks and Nancy Marks, and Dr. and Mrs. James S. Reibel, with additional contributions from Mr. and Mrs. Charles M. Royce, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Barbara G. Fleischman, Helen-Mae and Seymour Askin, George and Michael Eberstadt in memory of Vera and Walter Eberstadt, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Otto Naumann and Heidi D. Shafranek, the Robert Lehman Foundation, and an anonymous gift in memory of Charles Ryskamp. The exhibition was also supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Anthony van Dyck, Mary, Lady van Dyck, née Ruthven, ca. 1640. Oil on canvas. Museo Nacional del Prado; Anthony van Dyck, Cardinal Guido Bentivoglio, 1623. Oil on canvas. Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti, Florence; Scala / Art Resource, NY

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