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After Anthony van Dyck, Portrait of the Artist

Key facts
Full title Portrait of the Artist
Artist After Anthony van Dyck
Artist dates 1599 - 1641
Date made about 1750-1825
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 57.2 × 49.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1871
Inventory number NG877
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of the Artist
After Anthony van Dyck

A young man looks out at the viewer with a piercing gaze and provocative expression. With an elegant hand gesture he points towards his chest, alluding to the fact this image is in fact a self portrait. His lips are parted, as if he is about to introduce himself – this is the Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck.

The National Gallery’s picture is a reduced, late eighteenth- or early nineteenth-century copy of Van Dyck’s half-length original, which is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. This is one of three closely related self portraits Van Dyck painted in the years around 1620.

Anthony van Dyck would have been about 20 years old here, and acutely conscious of his new-found fame across Europe – something reflected in his highly self-conscious self presentation. It is thought that the original was made while Van Dyck was in Antwerp or, most likely, during his first visit to London in the winter of 1620–1, when he worked at the court of King Charles I.

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