About Anthony van Dyck

Anthony van Dyck was born in 1599 into an affluent family in Antwerp. During the 1500s, the city of Antwerp experienced tremendous growth, becoming the economic capital of northern Europe, only to decline rapidly after the onset of the Eighty Years' War in 1568. Although economic power had shifted north to Amsterdam, van Dyck's training occurred during the Twelve Years' Truce, a time of relative prosperity.

By 1609, van Dyck was listed among the pupils of the painter Hendrick van Balen, and just seven years later, he set up an independent workshop with his friend Jan Brueghel the Younger. Just before his 19th birthday, van Dyck registered as a master painter in the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp.

Van Dyck studied with Peter Paul Rubens as early as 1613; however, the exact nature of van Dyck's working relationship with Rubens remains unclear. Although he was an independent master, contracts and letters refer to van Dyck as Rubens's greatest assistant as late as 1620.

Image: Anthony van Dyck, Self-portrait, after 1633, oil on canvas, Private collection

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