New Van Dyck book

November 20 2022

Image of New Van Dyck book

Picture: Yale

I've been meaning to note the publication of an excellent new book on Van Dyck, by the Met curator Adam Eaker; "Van Dyck and the Making of English Portraiture". The publishers say:

As a courtier, figure of fashion, and object of erotic fascination, Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641) transformed the professional identities available to English artists. By making his portrait sittings into a form of courtly spectacle, Van Dyck inspired poets and playwrights at the same time that he offended guardians of traditional hierarchies. A self-consciously Van Dyckian lineage of artists, many of them women, extends from his lifetime to the end of the eighteenth century and beyond.

Recovering the often surprising responses of both writers and painters to Van Dyck’s portraits, this book provides an alternative perspective on English art’s historical self-consciousness. Built around a series of close readings of artworks and texts ranging from poems and plays to early biographies and studio gossip, it traces the reception of Van Dyck’s art on the part of artists like Mary Beale, William Hogarth, and Richard and Maria Cosway to bestow a historical specificity on the frequent claim that Van Dyck founded an English school of portraiture.

I make a brief appearance as 'a partisan of the artist' when discussing the question of whether Van Dyck flattered his sitters. Such as Adam's objectivity, I'm not sure he means it as a complement, but I'm glad to be in print as one of Van Dyck's flag wavers. You can order the book here

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