Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
Nicolaas Rockox, ca. 1627–35
11 3/4 × 8 1/2 in. (30.2 × 21.7 cm)
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Royal Collection, Windsor
This drawing, almost certainly made from life, provided the prototype for Van Dyck’s grisaille of Nicolaas Rockox, the Antwerp mayor who was an important patron of the artist. It accords with one characteristic type of portrait sketch in Van Dyck’s oeuvre: entirely in black chalk, with a detailed rendering of physiognomy and rougher indications of dress and attributes. Rockox’s left hand rests on a large sculpted head, probably representing Minerva, goddess of wisdom. With his right hand, he points straight at her forehead. This attribute was later eliminated from the painted and engraved versions of Van Dyck’s portrait. The drawing was perhaps intended as a prototype for a never executed print in the Iconographie series.