Portrait of a Seventy-Year-Old Man

oil painting portrait of old man with mustache and beard with white ruffle collar, circa 1613

Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
Portrait of a Seventy-Year-Old Man, 1613
Oil on canvas
24 3/4 × 17 1/8 in. (63 × 43.5 cm)
Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België / Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels

The inscription at the top of this canvas declares it to be the portrait of a man aged seventy and the work of the fourteen-year-old Van Dyck, identified by his monogram, AVD. As such, it is his earliest dated work, and the inscription makes a bold declaration of ambition and pride on the part of a prodigy keenly aware of his gifts. In its coloration and loose manner of painting, the picture brings to mind portraits by Jacopo Tintoretto and may reflect the young Van Dyck’s exposure to Venetian paintings in the collections of Antwerp connoisseurs like his masters Hendrick van Balen and Peter Paul Rubens, before he traveled to Italy himself.

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