Skip to main content
The Balbi Children
Anthony van Dyck
/

Three dashing young boys stand on the steps of an impressive building. They are known as the Balbi children because the painting was once in the collection of the wealthy ​Balbi family ​in Genoa, but we don‘t know who they are. Some have suggested they were members of the Franchi family because the birds perched on the steps are choughs, which appear in the Franchi coat of arms.

Whoever these boys are, their garments are expensive – satin, velvet and brocade, silver and gold braid, with fine ruffs and lace cuffs – and they’re full of life, ready to be off at any moment. Van Dyck’s fine highlights and sensitive modelling show us what each bright-eyed boy looked like, but his subtle and delicate observation of their movements and interactions tells us about their personalities in a way that was groundbreaking. He formulated a new style of portraiture that was hugely influential for centuries to come.

Key facts
Artist Anthony van Dyck
Artist dates 1599 - 1641
Full title The Balbi Children
Date made about 1625-7
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 219 x 151 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1985
Inventory number NG6502
Location in Gallery Room 20
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo