Known variously as Antoon (in his Flemish birthplace), Antonio (during his residence in Italy) and Sir Anthony (as court painter in England), Van Dyck was a scintillating and hugely influential portraitist of the Baroque period, who was also a brilliant religious and narrative painter, and a consummate draughtsman and etcher.
He was born on 21 March 1599 to a well-to-do merchant family in Antwerp, then the main port of the Spanish (or Southern) Netherlands. He was named after his paternal grandfather who had himself been a Master in the Antwerp painters' guild. But, in a city where there were more painters than bakers, Antoon Van Dyck the Elder had found it impossible to make his art pay. He turned …
Blake, Robin James. "Anthony Van Dyck". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 April 2006
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