Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
Pomponne II de Bellièvre, ca. 1637–40
Oil on canvas
54 × 43 1/2 in. (137.2 × 110.5 cm)
Seattle Art Museum; Purchased with a major grant from an anonymous donor; additional funds provided by Louise Raymond Owens; Norman and Amelia Davis; Oliver T. and Carol Erickson; Seattle Art Museum Guild; Pauline Ederer Bolster and Arthur F. Ederer in memory of their sister, Milli Ederer Kastner; Mr. and Mrs. James D. Burns; gift in memory of Andrew Price by Mrs. Mary Price and their family; bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Stewart Downey; bequest of Charles Moseley Clark; Max R. Schweitzer; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Stimson, Thomas D. Stimson Memorial Collection; Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection; Silver Anniversary Fund; Margaret E. Fuller Purchase Fund; Seattle Art Museum Purchase Fund by exchange
Pomponne II de Bellièvre, Lord of Grignon, came from a prominent family of French statesmen and twice served as French ambassador to the English court. Van Dyck most likely painted Bellièvre during the latter’s first posting to London, although the ambassador could also have sat for him during the painter’s sojourn in Paris shortly before his death. Van Dyck’s likeness is a study in muted elegance, with Bellièvre’s long brown hair lapping over his floppy collar while a sash of crimson silk accents his otherwise black and white costume. Bellièvre was a noted collector of works by Nicolas Poussin and Philippe de Champaigne, and his austere and learned taste may have informed his instructions to Van Dyck for the present portrait.