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Oil painting - A Man in Half Armour
  • A Man in Half Armour
    Van Dyck, born 1599 - died 1641
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A Man in Half Armour

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Date:

    early 17th century-mid 17th century (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Van Dyck, born 1599 - died 1641 (attributed to, painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev., Alexander Dyce

  • Museum number:

    DYCE.11

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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A man in half armour and wearing a sheathed sword, standing at a balustrade with left arm akimbo and right arm outstretched, his red plumed helmet at his feet and a red scarf tied at his right elbow. Sir Anthony van Dyck (b. 1599, Antwerp, d. 1641, London) was a Flemish painter and one of the most important and prolific portraitists of the 17th century. He spent two years in the workshop of Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerp and from 1620-1627 traveled in Italy, where he was in great demand as a portraitist and where he developed his maturing style. He toned down the Flemish robustness of his early work to concentrate on a more dignified, elegant manner. In his portraits of Italian aristocrats he painted idealized figures with proud, erect stances, slender figures, and the famous expressive “van Dyck” hands. Influenced by the Venetian painters Titian, Paolo Veronese, and Giovanni Bellini, he adopted their rich, jewel-like colours. In 1632 he moved to London and became court painter to King Charles I, who knighted him shortly after his arrival. Van Dyck painted most of the English aristocracy and his style became lighter and more luminous, with thinner paint and more sparkling highlights in gold and silver. He set a new style for Flemish art and founded the English school of painting; the portraitists Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough of that school were his artistic heirs. Dyce.11 appears to be an oil sketch for a portrait or history painting by van Dyck or in his manner and may represent only a section of a larger composition. The arm akimbo stance and 3/4 turn are favourite motifs in van Dyck and similar half-length portraits of men in armour dating to the 1620s are found for example in musuems in Vienna and Dresden e.

Physical description

A man in half armour and wearing a sheathed sword, standing at a balustrade with left arm akimbo and right arm outstretched, his red plumed helmet at his feet and a red scarf tied at his right elbow.

Date

early 17th century-mid 17th century (painted)

Artist/maker

Van Dyck, born 1599 - died 1641 (attributed to, painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Van Dyke'

Dimensions

Height: 12.5 in estimate, Width: 8 in estimate

Object history note

Bequeathed by Rev. Alexander Dyce, 1869
South Kensington Museum Art Handbooks. The Dyce and Forster Collections. With Engravings and Facsimiles. Published for the Committee of Council on Education by Chapman and Hall, Limited, 193, Piccadilly, London. 1880. Chapter I. Biographical Sketch of Mr. Dyce. pp.1-12, including 'Portrait of Mr. Dyce' illustrated opposite p.1.

Science and Art Department of the Committee of Council on Education, South Kensington Museum.A Catalogue of the Paintings, Miniatures, Drawings... Bequeathed by The Reverend Alexander Dyce. London, 1874. A 'Note' on page v comments, 'This catalogue refers to the Art portion of the Collection bequeathed to the South Kensington Museum by the Reverend Alexander Dyce, the well-known Shakespearian scholar, who died May 15, 1869'. The Catalogue. Paintings, Miniatures, &c. by Samuel Redgrave notes of the 'Oil Paintings', 'The strength of Mr. Dyce's valuable bequest to Department of Science and Art does not lie in [this] portion ... which is in its nature of a very miscellaneous character. The collection was made apparently as objects offered themselves, and without any special design.' Dyce's main interest was in literary subjects, and this is reflected in many of the paintings he bequeathed to the V&A.

Historical significance: Sir Anthony van Dyck (b. 1599, Antwerp, d. 1641, London) was a Flemish painter and one of the most important and prolific portraitists of the 17th century. He spent two years in the workshop of Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerp and from 1620-1627 traveled in Italy, where he was in great demand as a portraitist and where he developed his maturing style. He toned down the Flemish robustness of his early work to concentrate on a more dignified, elegant manner. In his portraits of Italian aristocrats he painted idealized figures with proud, erect stances, slender figures, and the famous expressive “van Dyck” hands. Influenced by the Venetian painters Titian, Paolo Veronese, and Giovanni Bellini, he adopted their rich, jewel-like colours. In 1632 he moved to London and became court painter to King Charles I, who knighted him shortly after his arrival. Van Dyck painted most of the English aristocracy and his style became lighter and more luminous, with thinner paint and more sparkling highlights in gold and silver. He set a new style for Flemish art and founded the English school of painting; the portraitists Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough of that school were his artistic heirs. Dyce.11 appears to be an oil sketch for a portrait or history painting by van Dyck or in his manner and may represent only a section of a larger composition. The arm akimbo stance and 3/4 turn are favourite motifs in van Dyck and similar half-length portraits of men in armour dating to the 1620s are found in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna and the Dresden Gemäldegalerie.

Historical context note

History painting, i.e. depictions of non recurring events based on religious, classical, literary or allegorical sources, particularly developed in the second half of the 17th century in the Netherlands. Although, history painting began in the Netherlands in the late 15th and early 16th centuries with such artists as Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), Jan Mostaert (ca. 1475-1555) and Lucas van Leyden (1494-1533), it had long been overshadowed by the genre painting. Netherlandish artists’ new interest in naturalism transformed distant history into contemporary scenes of everyday life, situating classical and biblical scenes in Netherlandish settings with figures in contemporary costume and sometimes even including historicised portraits.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'A Man in Half Armour', attributed to Sir Anthony Van Dyck

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Summary catalogue of British Paintings. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 39
'Attributed to' van Dyck
South Kensington Museum. Dyce collection : a catalogue of the paintings, miniatures, drawings, engravings, rings, and miscellaneous objects bequeathed by the Reverend Alexander Dyce. London : G.E. Eyre and W. Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1874, p. 2.
As by van Dyck

Materials

Paper; Oil paint

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Swords; Helmets; Half armours

Categories

Paintings

Collection code

PDP

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Qr_O133795
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