Anthony Van Dycks final self-portrait is one of just three self-portraits he is known to have created in Britain.
Self Portrait by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, 16401641
© National Portrait Gallery
- Oil on canvas
- 59.7 x 47.3 cm
- Art Fund grant:
- £500,000 ( Total: £10,000,000; Export stopped)
- Acquired in:
- Alfred Bader Fine Arts
The painting dates from the very end of Van Dycks 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 Pauls 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.
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