Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) 2

Unfortunately, the inscription was not completely legible using the viewing software. However, contours of the letters and numbers in the inscription began to appear. By tracing these contours on dozens of images and superimposing these tracings, the entire inscription emerged: ANNO [year] 1619. This portrait was therefore painted when van Dyck was only 19 or 20 years old.

This discovery is critical not only because it gives a firm date for the creation of the painting, but also because it raises the importance of this painting in the discussion of van Dyck's evolution as an artist in his early career. Of the 160 or so paintings known to be by van Dyck before leaving Antwerp for Italy in 1621, only a small handful are inscribed with a date. Now this painting joins that group.

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