Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
Two Studies of a Greyhound, ca. 1633
Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on light brown paper
18 7/8 × 12 3/4 in. (47.8 × 32.4 cm)
The British Museum, London
Van Dyck made these studies of a magnificent greyhound in preparation for a full-length portrait of the courtier James Stuart (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). A sketch of his pose and costume in the painting is shown here. The drawing of the dog is more detailed, perhaps because Van Dyck knew he would have less time to capture the pose of the animal in an oil sketch. In fact, during the dog’s "sitting," it shifted the position of its legs, prompting the artist to draw its body twice. For the painting, Van Dyck combined the body at left with the head at right. The dog, which allegedly saved its master’s life during a boar hunt, is also included in another portrait of Stuart by Van Dyck (Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood House, London).