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Anthony van Dyck, Portrait of George Gage with Two Attendants

Key facts
Full title Portrait of George Gage with Two Attendants
Artist Anthony van Dyck
Artist dates 1599 - 1641
Date made probably 1622-3
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 115 × 113.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1824
Inventory number NG49
Location Room 21
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of George Gage with Two Attendants
Anthony van Dyck

The central figure in this work is George Gage, a notable art dealer and political agent in the 1620s, acting for King James I and then Charles I. Both he and Van Dyck were in Rome in 1622 and 1623, and it is highly likely that the painting was made then.

Van Dyck has depicted Gage as an elegant figure in the midst of a negotiation with a dealer in classical antiques. The dealer looks intently at him as he gestures towards the sculpture; while Gage may look diffident, he returns his gaze and seems about to speak. The figure in the background looks across them and directly at us. He holds the sculpture and is also pointing at it.

We could interpret this in different ways. He may be indicating the significance of the piece, or perhaps he is trying to tempt us as prospective purchasers. Either way, we feel drawn into the negotiations as participants as well as observers.

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