Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
George Gage with Two Men, ca. 1622–23
Oil on canvas
45 1/4 × 44 3/4 in. (115 × 113.5 cm)
The National Gallery, London
While Van Dyck may already have met the diplomat and artistic agent George Gage in Rubens’s Antwerp studio, the style and setting of the portrait he made of him indicate it was painted in Rome, where Van Dyck and Gage may have befriended each other. Against a dark landscape, two men present a marble sculpture to the Englishman, whose nonchalant pose evokes his worldliness. Gage was indeed involved in the procurement of ancient statuary for English patrons. The informality of the portrait — evident in the composition, as well as in the varying degrees of finish — contrasts with most of Van Dyck’s Italian portraits, including those of Guido Bentivoglio and the Genoese lady displayed in this gallery.