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Title A Man in Half Armour
Collection Victoria and Albert Museum
Artist Attributed to Dyck, Anthony van (Flemish painter, 15991641, active in England)
Date Earliest about 1630
Date Latest about 1670

A man in half armour and wearing a sheathed sword, stands 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. The painting appears to be an oil sketch for a portrait or history painting by van Dyck, or in his manner, and may represent a section of a larger composition. The arm akimbo stance and three-quarter turn are favourite motifs of van Dyck's and similar half-length portraits of men in armour dating to the 1620s are found for example in museums in Vienna and Dresden.

Sir Anthony van Dyck was a Flemish painter and one of the most important and prolific portraitists of the seventeenth 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 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 founded the English school of portrait painting.

Current Accession Number DYCE.11
Inscription front ll 'Van Dyke'
Subject figure; military and war
Measurements 12.5in x 8in
Material oil on paper
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Rev. Alexander Dyce, 1869
Publications South Kensington Museum, Dyce collection: a catalogue of the paintings, miniatures, drawings, engravings, rings, and miscellaneous objects bequeathed by the Reverend Alexander Dyce, London, 1874, p. 2; Summary catalogue of British Paintings, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 39.

For the Reverend Alexander Dyce see:South Kensington Museum Art Handbooks. The Dyce and Forster Collections. With Engravings and Facsimiles, London, 1880; Redgrave, Samuel, 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'. 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.

Rights Owner © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Author Jennifer Sliwka



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