Portrait Study of a Lady, with Studies of Her Hands

black and white chalk sketch of woman in dress, with sketch of hands, circa 1628

Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
Portrait Study of a Lady, with Studies of Her Hands, ca. 1628–34
Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on gray-green (formerly blue) paper
19 7/8 × 11 13/16 in. (50.5 × 30 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Bequest of Walter C. Baker, 1971

Van Dyck’s sitters are famous for their elegant, slender hands, yet he very rarely made studies of them. One exception is this drawing. It has long been described as preparatory to a painting of an unidentified sitter in Munich, but a comparison suggests that Van Dyck saw portrait drawings as general guides rather than models to be precisely followed. The drawing has a nearly complete history of ownership in the collections of nine painters.

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