Portrait Study of a Standing Man (Alexander Vincque?)

black and red chalk drawing of man wearing cloak, stiff ruffled collar, and holding hat

Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
Portrait Study of a Standing Man (Alexander Vincque?), 1616 or before
Black and red chalk on buff paper
20 3/4 × 13 3/4 in. (52.6 × 35 cm)
National Gallery of Art, Washington; Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund

This study corresponds closely to the portrait of a merchant in Antwerp traditionally identified as a member of the Vincque family. The somewhat coarse style indicates that the drawing — and thus the painting — must predate Van Dyck’s more refined study of a Jesuit missionary, made in January of 1617. It is therefore probably Van Dyck’s earliest preserved drawing and as such suggests that he had a flourishing practice as a painter well before becoming a master in 1618. The full-length format of the picture attests to the family’s social ambitions and their faith in the capacities of the young artist.

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