Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, 15991641)
Oil on canvas; 47 1/8 x 34 5/8 in. (119.7 x 87.9 cm)
The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.25)
A precocious talent, van Dyck worked with Rubens in Antwerp in the years before 1620. He went to England to the court of King James I in 1620 and remained there briefly before embarking on an extended trip to Italy. He portrays himself here as a somewhat foppish gentleman, avoiding all reference to his profession as a painter. Two self-portraits related to the present painting, as well as an oil sketch of the artist's head, all showing van Dyck at the age of about twenty, suggest the youthful artist's self-conscious awareness of his genius. The early self-portraits may have been painted about the time of his visit to England in 162021. The present painting belonged to the family of the dukes of Grafton from the late seventeenth century to the beginning of the twentieth.