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Sir Anthony van Dyck

(1599-1641), Painter

Sitter associated with 31 portraits
Artist associated with 1024 portraits
Sir Anthony van Dyck was by far the most influential painter to have worked in Britain during the seventeenth century. Flemish by birth, he found patronage in a number of European countries, but his longest stay was in England, which he made his home from the beginning of his second visit in 1632 until his death in 1641 (with a break back in Antwerp in 1634-5). While his predecessors from the Low Countries had brought to Britain hints of what painting might become, it was van Dyck who decisively turned British portraiture away from the stiff, formal 'iconic' approach of Tudor and Jacobean painting. In England he developed the distinctive fluid, shimmering style that was to dominate portraiture in Britain not just during the seventeenth century but right up until the early years of the twentieth century. Rewarded by his most famous patron, Charles I, with a knighthood, his enduring influence - and a sense that it would be impossible to better him - was universally recognised and remarked on not only by his contemporaries but also by his successors.

More on van Dyck: In focus: Anthony van Dyck | Van Dyck A Masterpiece for everyone

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