Past Exhibition

Second Antwerp Period

 
  • black and white chalk drawing of man standing in cloak with sword at side

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Portrait Study of Nicholas Lanier, ca. 1628
    Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on blue paper
    15 1/2 × 11 3/8 in. (39.4 × 28.8 cm)
    Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh; Lady Murray of Henderland gift 1860 as a memorial of her husband, Lord Murray of Henderland

    According to an early source, Nicholas Lanier claimed to have sat for seven full days for his portrait. In this preparatory drawing, Van Dyck swiftly laid out the fall of fabric in Lanier’s cloak, the play of his curls, his elegant hands, and his almost supercilious expression. Nonetheless, the artist made a number of changes in the final composition. For example, instead of displaying a glove in his right hand, Lanier holds his arm akimbo with the hand tucked invisibly at his side. Less obviously, Van Dyck removed a curling lock of hair to leave Lanier’s temple exposed.

  • oil painting of man with beard, dressed in orange and white with black covering, with hand on sword

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Nicholas Lanier, ca. 1628
    Oil on canvas
    43 3/4 × 34 1/2 in. (111 × 87.6 cm)
    Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

    Nicholas Lanier was a musician, painter, and composer born in London to a family of French and Italian extraction. In 1626, he was named master of the king’s music to Charles I, and this portrait may have first brought Van Dyck into royal favor. Lanier also acquired a reputation as a painter and connoisseur of the arts, and Charles I entrusted him with the complicated negotiations for the purchase of the art collections of the Duke of Mantua. This portrait was displayed in Charles’s palace at Whitehall; when the king’s collections were sold after his execution, Lanier acquired the portrait for himself.

  • black chalk and ink drawing of woman seated in dress, next to seated child

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Portrait Study of Anna van Thielen and Her Daughter, Anna Maria Rombouts, ca. 1631–32
    Black chalk, pen, and brown ink
    12 1/2 × 10 5/16 in. (31.7 × 26.2 cm)
    The Morgan Library & Museum, New York

    This drawing prepared one of a pair of portraits of the Antwerp painter Theodoor Rombouts and his wife Anna van Thielen, who posed with their daughter, Anna Maria. The sitters belonged to the circle of Van Dyck’s colleagues and friends in Antwerp. Anna’s brother was a successful flower painter, as was her niece. The knee-length format is reminiscent of the traditional sixteenth-century portrait type that had remained popular in Antwerp. Anna’s expression, with its lifted eyebrow, makes for a forthright and engaging likeness.

  • black and white chalk drawing of woman in dress on paper with top corners cut

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Portrait Study of Henrietta of Lorraine, 1634
    Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on light gray (formerly blue) paper
    22 5/8 × 12 in. (57.3 × 30.2 cm)
    Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh; David Laing Bequest to the Royal Scottish Academy

    While in Brussels in 1634, Van Dyck painted portraits of Henrietta and Marguerite of Lorraine, sisters who had sought refuge there following Marguerite’s clandestine marriage to Gaston, Duke of Orleans and younger brother of Louis XIII of France. Here, the artist used rapid strokes of black chalk and white heightening (the latter now largely abraded) to document the fall of fabric in the sitter’s gown, the angle of her body, and the position of her hands. He often used blue paper from his years in Italy on, as is evident from several other sheets. While he paid close attention to the bulbous sleeves, lace cuffs, and narrowly tapering stomacher, his rendering of the sitter’s face is almost cartoonish and bears little resemblance to her appearance in the final painting.

  • black and white chalk sketch of woman in dress, with sketch of hands, circa 1628

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Portrait Study of a Lady, with Studies of Her Hands, ca. 1628–34
    Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on gray-green (formerly blue) paper
    19 7/8 × 11 13/16 in. (50.5 × 30 cm)
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Bequest of Walter C. Baker, 1971

    Van Dyck’s sitters are famous for their elegant, slender hands, yet he very rarely made studies of them. One exception is this drawing. It has long been described as preparatory to a painting of an unidentified sitter in Munich, but a comparison suggests that Van Dyck saw portrait drawings as general guides rather than models to be precisely followed. The drawing has a nearly complete history of ownership in the collections of nine painters.

  • black chalk drawing of man seated, wearing cloak

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Cesare Alessandro Scaglia, Seated, ca. 1634
    Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on brown paper
    19 1/8 × 12 3/4 in. (48.6 × 32.4 cm)
    Frits Lugt Collection, Fondation Custodia, Paris

    The abbot and diplomat Cesare Alessandro Scaglia was one of Van Dyck’s most important private patrons. This drawing, which prepared a large, full-length portrait, may represent a design that was abandoned. In the final version, Scaglia leans against a pillar, whereas here he appears seated, as though enthroned, holding a document in one hand. The choice of buff (coarser, light brown) paper is not unusual in the portrait sketches of Van Dyck’s later period. As did blue paper, it provided the artist with a middle tone for the black and white chalks with which he sketched the pose, to guide his subsequent work on the painting.

  • oil painting of man knelt in prayer at lap of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Cesare Scaglia Adoring the Virgin and Child, ca. 1634–35
    Oil on canvas
    42 × 47 1/4 in. (106.7 × 120 cm)
    The National Gallery, London

    Cesare Alessandro Scaglia, the scion of a noble Piedmontese family, was made an abbot as a child but devoted his life to a diplomatic career that took him to courts across Europe. He spent his last years as an exile in Flanders, where he commissioned many portraits and devotional works from Van Dyck. This image of the abbot adoring the Virgin and Child is remarkable for the portrait-like depiction of the Virgin, who bears a striking resemblance to Marie-Claire de Croÿ, as depicted in a portrait also in this exhibition. Unfortunately, no documentation has yet explained a connection between the duchess and Scaglia. A preparatory study for this painting is displayed here.

  • painting of woman standing in lavish black and gray dress with child wearing red dress at side

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Marie-Claire de Croÿ with Her Son Philippe-Eugène, 1634
    Oil on canvas
    82 1/2 × 48 1/2 in. (208.7 × 123.2 cm)
    Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Roscoe and Margaret Oakes Collection

    Descended from one of the most ancient noble families in the Southern Netherlands, Marie-Claire de Croÿ was created Duchess of Havré in her own right by the king of Spain upon her marriage to a cousin in 1627. The child who appears alongside her is likely Philippe-Eugène, the future bishop of Valencia. The painting provides a sterling example of the grandiose and richly colored court portraits of Van Dyck’s second Antwerp period and makes use of a recurrent formula of juxtaposing an elegant female sitter with a diminutive male companion.

  • black and white drawing of man standing wearing armor, holding button

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Johann of Nassau-Siegen, Standing, Wearing Armor,  ca. 1634
    Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on blue paper
    The British Museum, London

    Briefly returning to the Southern Netherlands in 1634, Van Dyck busied himself with portraits of Brussels courtiers. These included two portraits of Johann VIII, Count of Nassau-Siegen, a territory of the Holy Roman Empire. The count was a Catholic convert who served as a general for the Hapsburgs in the Southern Netherlands, at war with his own Protestant family. In the portrait that this sketch prepares, Johann appears as a military commander, wearing armor that is the focus of Van Dyck’s sketch, its sheen skillfully evoked by a few highlights in white chalk.

  • two black and white chalk sketches of man with folded collar

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Two Studies of Cesare Alessandro Scaglia, ca. 1634
    Black chalk on blue paper
    20 1/16 × 13 5/16 in. (50.9 x 33.8 cm)
    The British Museum, London

    Van Dyck made these two studies of the diplomat Cesare Alessandro Scaglia in preparation for the painting of the sitter in adoration of the Virgin and Child.

  • black and white chalk drawing of man seated, wearing cloak, with bowties tied under each knee

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Johann of Nassau-Siegen, Seated, ca. 1634
    Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on blue paper
    20 1/16 × 13 5/16 in. (50.9 x 33.8 cm)
    The British Museum, London

    In addition to a portrait of the count in armor, Van Dyck also painted a monumental group portrait of Johann of Nassau-Siegen with his family. The couple appear seated on a dais, flanked by four of their children. As in most of his portrait drawings, Van Dyck focused on the pose and costume of his sitter, barely indicating the face. In the finished painting, Van Dyck altered Johann’s left hand, so that the count seems to be pointing at his son and heir, Johann Franz Desideratus.

  • black and white chalk drawing of woman in dress, holding hand of young boy at her side

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Ernestine Yolande, Countess of Nassau-Siegen, Seated, with Her Son, Johann Franz Desideratus
    Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on blue paper
    The British Museum, London

    Ernestine Yolande, Countess of Nassau-Siegen, was the daughter of Lamoral, Prince of Ligne. As with his study of the seated count, Van Dyck made this sketch in preparation for a massive family portrait. In the final painting, the countess cradles a lapdog, a symbol of marital fidelity. This attribute, however, is absent from the sketch, which focuses on the folds and highlights of the countess’s gown. Once he had finished drawing the dress, Van Dyck overlaid it with rough indications of her young son.

  • black and white chalk drawing, portrait of man in cloak, with large collar

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Portrait Study of Quintijn Simons, ca. 1634
    Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on blue paper
    17 1/2 × 11 in. (44.3 × 28 cm)
    The British Museum, London

    This sketch depicts the little-known painter Quintijn Simons, whom Van Dyck portrayed in a painting. In the inscription of a print after this picture, he is described as a "Brussels history painter," but this claim cannot be substantiated by any surviving work. As with many other such sketches, Van Dyck drew on both sides of this sheet. 

  • painting of blindfolded Justice seated surrounded by seven seated men

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Justice Flanked by Seven Magistrates of the City of Brussels, ca. 1634
    Oil on panel, squared in oil
    10 3/8 × 23 in. (26.3 × 58.5 cm)
    École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris

    In August 1695, a French bombardment largely destroyed the famous town hall of Brussels and its art collections, including two large group portraits by Van Dyck depicting the city’s magistrates. The second of these compositions is recorded in this oil sketch, which depicts seven of the city’s magistrates flanking the figure of Justice. The compositional sketch was squared in the wet paint to enlarge the design (the final canvas may have measured as much as ten by twenty-six feet) and supplemented by studies in black and white chalk of costume and pose, as well as detailed head studies of the individual figures.

  • painting of man looking right, with beard and mustache, wearing white stiff collar

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Portrait Study of a Man, Facing Right, ca. 1634
    Oil on canvas, with paper extensions on each side
    25 × 19 1/2 in. (63.5 × 49.5 cm)
    Private collection

    A group of five head studies in oil on canvas survive for a now destroyed group portrait of Brussels magistrates, some of which can be related to figures in the composition sketch. This study, for instance, may represent the second man from the left in the sketch. The number of sitters and the large scale of the final painting must have made it hard to paint directly from life on the canvas, as was Van Dyck’s probable method when working on smaller portraits.

  • oil painting of man's face looking left, with beard, wearing white stiff collar

    Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
    Portrait Study of a Man, Looking Left, ca. 1634
    Oil on canvas
    21 3/4 × 17 3/4 in. (55.3 × 45.1 cm)
    Private collection

    The head studies connected with the commission of a large painting for the Brussels town hall offer a rare opportunity to examine how Van Dyck worked with the model before him. While the level of information on the sitter’s appearance exceeds that of most of the artist’s portrait drawings, they appear to have been done quickly, in short sessions, offering a lively likeness. The example shown here only resurfaced in 2000, as part of the British Broadcasting Company’s Antiques Roadshow.