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Anthony van Dyck, Portrait of François Langlois

Key facts
Full title Portrait of François Langlois
Artist Anthony van Dyck
Artist dates 1599 - 1641
Date made probably early 1630s
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 97.8 × 80 cm
Acquisition credit Bought jointly by the National Gallery and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund, 1997
Inventory number NG6567
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of François Langlois
Anthony van Dyck

In this lively, informal portrait, Anthony van Dyck presents to us someone he had known for several years and whose company he clearly enjoyed. François Langlois was an engraver, art dealer and publisher who lived in Italy in the 1620s, which is where he must have met Van Dyck. Langlois was also an accomplished amateur musician. He has dressed up for the picture, playing the part of a savoyard – a wandering shepherd and musician – with his cocked hat, an instrument tucked under his arm and a sparkle in his eyes.

Van Dyck has portrayed his friend with great affection and with none of the flattery he used on the English aristocrats at the court of King Charles I. Langlois is totally at ease, engrossed in the performance that is about to begin. Set against the sky and a rural landscape, he is himself like a breath of fresh air.

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