Self Portrait by Sir Anthony Van Dyck

Anthony Van Dyck’s final self-portrait is one of just three self-portraits he is known to have created in Britain.

Details

Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
59.7 x 47.3 cm
Art Fund grant:
£500,000 ( Total: £10,000,000; Export stopped)
Acquired in:
2014
Vendor:
Alfred Bader Fine Arts

The painting dates from the very end of Van Dyck’s life and presents a direct, intimate image of an artist at work. He shows himself fashionably dressed but apparently in the act of painting, the line of his right shoulder and sleeve suggesting his hand is applying paint to a canvas just out of sight. For the present-day viewer it conveys a sense of direct engagement with Van Dyck as an individual, despite the passage of almost 400 years. Within a year of producing this portrait Van Dyck would be dead, buried in Old St Paul’s Cathedral with the epitaph: ‘Anthony Van Dyck – who, while he lived, gave to many immortal life’. The frame of this painting, crested with the sunflower motif associated with the artist, is of outstanding importance. Its unusually elaborate carving has led some commentators to suggest that it was made much later than the painting, but recent research shows that it is likely to have been influenced by Van Dyck himself and designed with his involvement.

Provenance

Acquired by Lord Newport, 1682; Richard Graham; acquired by Francis Child, 1712; by descent to Robert Child; by descent to Lady Sarah Sophia Fane; by descent in the collection of the Earls of Jersey; Jersey Trustees; Sotheby's, 2009; Philip Mould in

Venue details

National Portrait Gallery St Martin's Place, LONDON London WC2H 0HE 020 7306 0055 www.npg.org.uk

Entry details

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