Coinciding with the 1999 exhibitions of his paintings in Antwerp and London, Anthony van Dyck: 1599-1641 celebrates the 400th anniversary of the birth of the celebrated Flemish painter. Van Dyck is perhaps best known for his religious paintings, which are outstanding examples of the Baroque style, and he is also considered one of the greatest portrait painters in an age of exceptional portraitists. He revolutionized royal portraiture in England by introducing more dynamic compositions, often incorporating the dramatic presence of a draped curtain leading out into a natural vista and open skies. Born in Antwerp to a wealthy merchant family, van Dyck began to paint at the age of 10 and had already earned the privilege of studying with Peter Paul Rubens by the time he was a teenager. He shared a workshop with Jan Brueghel the Younger, and his contemporaries included Poussin, Lorrain, and Velázquez. Later he would become court painter for King James of England, as well as for Charles I, and he immortalized their key subjects during the charged era of the English Civil War. He had a special talent for depicting his regal subjects with a relaxed elegance not seen in the more formal portraiture that had preceded him. And his ability to paint sumptuous fabrics is almost unparalleled.
This large, stately, cloth-covered hardback contains over 100 of van Dyck's masterpieces, including rarely seen works. Its 359 pages are lavishly illustrated with quality full-color reproductions, including painting details and preliminary drawings. A chronology, descriptions of each work, and essays by prominent scholars in the field make this the most authoritative volume on the artist to date. --A.C. Smith [via]