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Past Exhibition

Nicolaas Rockox

circular oil painting portrait of  man with beard wearing white stiff collar

Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
Nicolaas Rockox, 1636
Oil on panel
diam. 6 in. (15.2 cm)
Collection Howard and Nancy Marks

Unlike the other grisailles, Van Dyck’s portrait of Nicolaas Rockox, a towering figure in the political and cultural life of Antwerp, has an unusual round format. It was likely painted for Rockox’s own collection and reflected his interest in ancient coins. Paulus Pontius’s engraving meanwhile embellishes the portrait with an architectural framework and Latin verses by Gaspar Gevaerts that praise Rockox for his unwavering service and indifference to power. These features depart from the Iconographie series and indicate that the engraving was intended to circulate independently.