Van Dyck studies in Canada

August 29 2013

Image of Van Dyck studies in Canada

Picture: National Gallery of Canada

The interesting exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, 'Masterpiece in Focus: Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens', has been extended till 5th January. The show examines key works from the Gallery's collection, and the creative forces behind them.

One of Canada's most important Old Masters is Van Dyck's Suffer Little Children Come Unto Me, which was painted in the artist's first Antwerp period (that is, before he left for Italy in 1622). The picture was recently in the Prado's Young Van Dyck exhibition, but was only exhibited alongside one of the studies seen above, the boy with praying hands, which (as previously mentioned) was discovered by Philip Mould in 1993. In the Canadian show two additional studies have been brought together - the small head of a child (seen above, bottom right) is yet another of Philip's discoveries (this time from 2002), while the head of a man I've not seen before is on loan from a private collection. From the image I've no doubt it is entirely right (though probably the background is a later addition), and is an important addition to Van Dyck's oeuvre - well done to the NGofC for tracking it down. As I write in our recent 'Finding Van Dyck' exhibition catalogue, Van Dyck's use of head studies has been consistently underplayed in the literature.

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