Circle of Sir Anthony Van Dyck (Antwerp 1599 - 1641 London)
Brush and grey wash on laid. Framed and glazed. In good condition.
Measurements - Drawing: 31.3 x 19.4cm (approx 12 x 7 ¾inches) Framed: 55.5 x 45.2cm (approx 21¾ x 217¾ inches)
Bears collector's stamp for Sir Richard Cosway (1742-1821) who was a leading English portrait miniaturist of the Regency era and a very important collector. Inscribed "Flemish School 17th Century – from the Richard Cosway Collection)
Sir Anthony Van Dyck, a Flemish master, was one of the most important and successful portraitists of the 17th century. He was born on 22 March 1599 in Antwerp and he was apprenticed to the Flemish historical painter Hendrik van Balen. He was admitted to the Antwerp guild of painters in 1618 and spent the next two years as a member of the workshop of the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerp. He travelled to Italy from 1620 to 1627, where he was in great demand as a portraitist and became Influenced by the great Venetian painters Titian, Veronese, and Giovanni Bellini, adopting their style and colours of great richness. He became the most sought after painter of aristocracy, and was particularly successful with important patrons in Genoa and Mantua.
After a period back home, In 1632 Van Dyck settled in London to become the leading court painter to King Charles I, and was knighted shortly after. He is most famous for his portraits of King Charles I and of his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next 150 years.
Van Dyck's religious work was heavily influenced by Rubens. Drawing inspiration from his Catholic upbringing and motivated by his desire to represent the holy figures in excellence, van Dyck brought a fresh approach to these works, painting them in utmost beauty.
The Crucifixion is the saddest religious subject although it has been one of the most important in Christian art. It is usually expressed, as we see in our drawing, sensing a deep intensity of the tragic nature of the scene. Van Dyck painted it many times (one of his most important canvas being the Crucifixion at Antwerp, 1629). The garments of Jesus had been stripped from his body. He now hangs naked upon the cross save for a small strip of cloth knotted about his loins. The body is slender and delicately modeled; he head is reclined on one side. There is a strong narrative sense and from the lifted face and open mouth we see that the sufferer communicates with his Father.
Our present work is likely to date to the late 1620s and the extremely high quality resembles the master very closely. The notable Provenance is a further indication of the Drawing's importance.