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Following a successful career passing through Italy and the Southern Netherlands, he became England’s leading court painter. The artist was educated by the highly celebrated and key figure in the Flemish Baroque, Peter Paul Rubens.
The artist was born into a wealthy family, his father, Frans van Dyck was a distinguished silk merchant. Van Dyck’s talent was shown and noticed at a very young age and started studying painting under Hendrick van Balen, around his ten years old.
By 16 years old, he was already an independent painter and would set up a workshop along with his friend Pieter Brueghel the Younger, who was even younger than van Dyck. He was accepted at the Antwerp painters Guild of Saint Luke as a free master. Van Dyck’s reputation was already very robust, and in a few years, he became the chief assistant of the renowned master Peter Paul Rubens, who referred to him as the best of his pupils, when van Dyck he was only 19 years old.
Van Dyck went to England for a short period, where he first came in contact with works by Titian, who made a deep impression on him, regarding his subtle form modeling and use of color, serving as a new stylistic reference for him on top of Rubens’. He then traveled to Italy to begin his career as a portraitist and also to study the Italian masters. Though he traveled extensively throughout Italy, he was mostly based in Genoa, as well as spending some time in Sicily and Palermo.
Through Rubens’ connections, van Dyck came in contact with King Charles’ court, for who he would paint and send several pictures, including Rinaldo and Armida, and a religious picture for the Queen. He developed an intimate relationship with the court of King and Queen Henrietta Maria, painting several portraits of them and their offspring. He also executed many paintings for King Charles himself.
The artist continued to paint to various distinguished members of society until his late-career. Documents suggest that in 1641 van Dyck was recuperating from a long illness, which made him leave France, where he was to paint Cardinal Richelieu.