Anthony van Dyck

So we’ve talked about Anthony van Dyck before, specifically the way he influenced Sir Thomas Gainsborough in the composition of his portraits. But van Dyck, as a giant of the Baroque, deserves his own entry. Go to any museum, and you’ll probably see a van Dyck hanging on the wall. The dude was a prolific an artist as any but, say, his compatriot Peter Paul Rubens, who relied on a workshop to boost his output.

So how do you spot him?

Today we’re going to cover two easy, hilariously non-technical ways to pick out a van Dyck.

1) The Beard.

James Harden of the Houston Rockets, AKA "The Beard."

James Harden of the Houston Rockets, AKA "The Beard."

No, not that Beard!

This beard:

Self-portrait (1633) by Anthony van Dyck. Private collection.

Self-portrait (1633) by Anthony van Dyck. Private collection.

Behold, the van Dyke Beard! (Note: not a misspelling; the name was Anglicized van Dyke.) A medium-thick (often-upturned) moustache combined with a soul patch or a spiked goatee, such as this bad boy:

Charles I (c. 1635) by Anthony van Dyck. The Royal Collection (Windsor, UK).

Charles I (c. 1635) by Anthony van Dyck. The Royal Collection (Windsor, UK).

2) Charles I

van Dyck was the court painter to English king Charles I, which means he painted Charles a lot (before Charles was beheaded in 1649, anyway). That’s why Anthony van Dyck was knighted in England and is often listed as “Sir Anthony van Dyck.” Remember this painting from our chat about Gainsborough’s portraits?

Charles I and His wife Henrietta Maria with Their Eldest Children: Charles, Prince of Wales (Charles II) next to His Father and Mary, the Princess Royal, in the Arms of Her Mother (1633) by Anthony van Dyck. The Royal Collection (Windsor, UK).

Charles I and His wife Henrietta Maria with Their Eldest Children: Charles, Prince of Wales (Charles II) next to His Father and Mary, the Princess Royal, in the Arms of Her Mother (1633) by Anthony van Dyck. The Royal Collection (Windsor, UK).

If you see a painting of a Baroque English king with wavy brown locks and lots of swagger, you’re looking at a van Dyck of Charles I. I mean, look at this guy:

Charles I at the Hunt (c. 1635) by Anthony van Dyck. The Louvre (Paris, France).

Charles I at the Hunt (c. 1635) by Anthony van Dyck. The Louvre (Paris, France).

Swag for dayyyyyys.

And don’t get Charles I confused with his son, Charles II, who had jet-black, thick, curly hair and either a pencil moustache or a clean-shaven face. Also a villainous sneer.

Charles II (c. 1676) by John Michael Wright. The Royal Collection (Hampton Court Palace, UK). 

Charles II (c. 1676) by John Michael Wright. The Royal Collection (Hampton Court Palace, UK). 

Get a load of that hair!