Sir Antony van Dyck Biography
born March 22, 1599, Antwerp
died Dec. 9, 1641, London
Van Dyck also spelled Vandyke , Flemish Anthonie Van Dyck , Anthonie also spelled Antonie , or Anton after Rubens, the most prominent Flemish painter of the 17th century. A prolific painter of portrait paintings of European aristocracy, Van Dyck also executed many paintings on religious and mythological subjects and was a fine draftsman and etcher. Appointed court painter by Charles I of England in 1632, Van Dyck was knighted the same year.
Van Dyck was the seventh of 12 children of Frans van Dyck, a well-to-do silk merchant. At the age of 10, he was apprenticed to Hendrik van Balen, a successful Antwerp painter, and he must soon have come under the influence of Rubens, who after 1608 assumed undisputed leadership of art in Antwerp. Van Dyck’s first surviving painting, the portrait of a man, is dated 1613; a self-portrait could not have
Career in Antwerp and Italy
Apparently unwilling to remain at the court of King James I, despite an annual salary of £100, Van Dyck returned to Antwerp and in October 1621 set out for Italy. There, too, Rubens’ recommendations paved his way. Van Dyck's first goal was Genoa, where he was immediately patronized by the same group of aristocratic families for whom Rubens had been active 14 years earlier.
Last years in England
After a brief trip to Holland in February 1632, Van Dyck again went to England, where he became highly successful. King Charles I appointed Van Dyck “principalle Paynter in ordinary of their Majesties” and knighted him. He gave him a golden chain and settled upon him an annual salary of £200 sterling. Yet, in March 1634 Van Dyck returned once again to Antwerp, ostensibly to settle matters
Van Dyck was a handsome man, but his features lacked strength, and he was rather short. Although socially ambitious, Van Dyck remained devoted to the members of his family and on cordial terms with fellow artists. His manners were suave and ingratiating. According to legend, Van Dyck inclined to licentiousness and extravagance, but the evidence is inconclusive. Whatever the faults.