François Langlois (1589 - 1647), known as 'Chiartres' after his native city of Chartres, was an engraver, art dealer and publisher who lived in Florence and Rome in the 1620s. It must have been in Italy that he first met Van Dyck. Langlois also acquired works of art for Charles I and other English collectors. In 1634 he settled in Paris, where he opened a successful shop selling books and prints and worked closely with many of the leading French artists of the day. Langlois was an accomplished amateur musician and is shown playing a musette - a small bagpipe - in this informal portrait. He is dressed as a savoyard, or itinerant shepherd and musician, a contemporary Arcadian fashion.
Van Dyck was a friend of Langlois for a number of years and the informality of the pose suggests the affection between artist and sitter. It was probably painted in the early 1630s when Van Dyck was still in Antwerp before his move to England.
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