Van Dyck

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Edward Worth’s copy of Van Dyck’s Icones principum virorum doctorum, pictorum chalcographorum statuariorum nec non amatorum picturae artis numero centum ab Antonio Van Dyck pictore ad vivum expressae eiusque sumptibus aeri incisae, printed at Antwerp in 1646 by Gillis Hendricx and more popularly known as the Iconography, consists of 100 prints of a variety of sitters. The book brings together portraits of heads of state, such as the Archduchess Isabella Clara Eugenia, Infanta of Spain (1566-1633) and Marie de’ Medici, Queen of France (1573-1642), whose portraits are explored by Helena Jedziniak in a webpage which focuses on women. Other members of the nobility include Marie de’ Medici’s son, Gaston, Duke of Orléans (1608-1660), his wife, Marguerite of Lorraine, Duchess of Orléans (1615-1672) as well as Gustav II Adolf (Gustavus Adolphus), King of Sweden (1594-1632), although members of the lesser nobility, such as Sir Kenelm Digby (1603-1665), are also numbered in this group.

Image : Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc (1580-1637). Fig. 27 in book.

As this image of the famous French scholar, Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc demonstrates, Van Dyck also included some of the noted scholars of his day. However, by far the largest group of sitters were Van Dyck’s own colleagues, artists and engravers of the first half of the seventeenth century. Van Dyck was clearly making a point here about the status of artists in the early modern period.