In the genre of court paintings, the name of Sir Anthony van Dyck demands attention. A Flemish painter, van Dyck perfected his art to become one of the most acclaimed portrait artists of all time.
Van Dyck was born in Antwerp on the 22nd of March 1599. Here at a fairly young age, he became an apprentice to the Baroque artist, Hendrik van Balen. He also assisted Rubens for two years. Van Dyck learned a lot from both these painters and their influence is noticeable in his work. Though his paintings bear sighs of these painters, it must be remembered that Van Dyck did not emulate them. Rather, he developed his own style from what he had learned. Van Dyck’s style, for instance, is not as energetic as Rubens.
In 1621, Anton Van Dyck went to Italy. Here he stayed for six years, studying the great Italian painters, and refining his own style. He toned down his former robustness, and his work began to acquire a certain grace and elegance. Van Dyck was on his way to becoming one of the world’s greatest portrait painters.
He painted the Genoese aristocracy in this style, thus immortalizing the nobleman of the Baroque painting: slender and proud. He is known for painting portraits of people having pointed and short beards (such beards are now called the Vandyke).
In 1632, van Dyck moved to London. Here his talent knew no bounds. He painted portraits of Charles I, Queen Henrietta, the king’s children, the Earl of Strafford, and other court personages. He was knighted the same year. In 1633, he was elected Painter to the King.
Sir Anthony van Dyke died on the 9th of December, in the year1641.