A New Discovery !

Anthony van Dyck, "Self-portrait," circa 1635-1641, oil on canvas.
Anthony van Dijck

It’s always exciting when a long-lost masterpiece is unearthed, especially from this 17th-century master.

As one of the most accomplished students of the famed Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) led a masterful artistic career in Antwerp during the 17th century. A previously unknown self-portrait of the painter was recently discovered and is now a centerpiece at the Rubens House in Belgium. Scholars believe the painting to have been commissioned by Charles I of England, who owned an exquisite collection of self-portraits by other greats, such as Titian, Bronzino, Romano, Rubens, and van Dyck.

Significantly, the self-portrait bears remarkable similarities to another picture by van Dyck, housed today in the National Portrait Gallery in London. But with one key alteration: the newly discovered visage shows Anthony’s moustache turned upward in a clearly dignified manner. The Rubens House reports, “Van Dyck shows himself to Charles I in a formal manner. The drooping moustache on the painting in London, however, is much more informal, which seems to suggest that the Antwerp master may have created it for himself. Until recently, the work was, due to its being repainted and re-framed in a rectangular mount, attributed to his successors. Research has now shown, though, that it is an authentic Van Dyck. Such a self-portrait was a real showpiece of the talents of an artist. The painter chose how he wanted to be seen. Profiling and vanity are certainly not only of our time.”

The painting is on permanent loan at the Rubens House and currently on view. To learn more, visit the Rubens House.


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