Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
Gaspar Gevaerts, ca. 1627–35
Black chalk, incised for transfer
10 5/8 in. × 7 1/2 in. (27 × 19 cm)
Better known by his Latinized name Gevartius, Gaspar Gevaerts was a preeminent philologist and historian, serving as secretary of Antwerp for four decades. In the drawing, preparatory to an engraving by Paulus Pontius for the series known as the Iconographie, Van Dyck alludes to Gevaerts’s scholarly endeavors with a single book. He renders the face in exquisite focus while rapidly sketching elements of dress and pose with thicker lines. Although the drawing is incised for transfer to the engraver’s plate, Pontius worked from Van Dyck’s later oil sketch for Gevaerts’s final pose and costume. In the oil sketch, Van Dyck trimmed the sitter’s collar with lace and added a fur-lined cape, slung partly over the left arm. The modification lends Gevaerts’s slender figure a more robust aspect; the cape also refers to his public office.