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Portrait of a Man

Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, Antwerp 1599–1641 London)

ca. 1618
Oil on wood
41 3/4 x 28 5/8 in. (106 x 72.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1889
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    This panel, painted in Antwerp around 1618, is one of the few very good examples of van Dyck's early work as a portraitist. It is distinctly Flemish in style, compared with even slightly later portraits such as those of Frans Snyders and Margaretha de Vos in The Frick Collection. The latter already reveal a painterly technique and an elegance inspired by Titian, while here the insistent sense of volume and texture, the costume details, the passive pose and expression, and the close harmony of tones are traditional qualities that call to mind earlier Northern portraits such as those by Anthonis Mor.

  • Catalogue Entry


  • Provenance

    ?Sir Paul Methuen, London (until d. 1757); his cousin, Paul Methuen, Corsham Court, Chippenham, Wiltshire (1757–d. 1795); his son, Paul Cobb Methuen, Corsham Court (1795–d. 1816; cat., 1806, p. 54, no. 160); his son, Paul Methuen, 1st Baron Methuen of Corsham, Corsham Court (1816–d. 1849); Frederick Henry Paul Methuen, 2nd Baron Methuen, Corsham Court (1849–86); Henry G. Marquand, New York (1886–89)

  • Exhibition History

    London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," 1877, no. 65 (as by Rubens, lent by Lord Methuen).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Exhibition of 1888–89," 1888–89, no. 16 (as "Portrait," by Rubens).

    Detroit Institute of Arts. "Eighth Loan Exhibition of Old Masters, Paintings by Anthony van Dyck," April 3–20, 1929, no. 8 (as by Van Dyck).

    New York. World's Fair. "Masterpieces of Art: European Paintings and Sculpture from 1300–1800," May–October 1939, no. 77a.

    Wooster, Ohio. Josephine Long Wishart Museum of Art. "Exhibition of Paintings of French, Italian, Dutch, Flemish and German Masters, lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 20–December 15, 1944, unnumbered cat. (p. 13).

    Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. "30 Masterpieces: An Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 4–November 23, 1947, unnumbered cat.

    Iowa City. State University of Iowa, School of Fine Arts. "30 Masterpieces: An Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 9–March 31, 1948, unnumbered cat.

    Bloomington. Indiana University. "30 Masterpieces: An Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 18–May 16, 1948, no catalogue.

    Palm Beach. Society of the Four Arts. "European Masters of the XVII and XVIII Centuries," January 13–February 5, 1950, no. 7.

    Chattanooga. George Thomas Hunter Gallery of Art. "Opening Exhibition," July 12–August 3, 1952, unnumbered cat.

  • References

    [Thomas Martyn]. The English Connoisseur: Containing an Account of Whatever is Curious in Painting, Sculpture, &c. in the Palaces and Seats of the Nobility and Principal Gentry of England, Both in Town and Country. London, 1766, vol. 2, p. 36, as by Rubens.

    John Britton. An Historical Account of Corsham House, in Wiltshire. London, 1806, p. 54, no. 160, as by Rubens.

    James Dallaway in Horace Walpole. Anecdotes of Painting in England. London, 1828, vol. 2, p. 180, as by Rubens.

    G[ustav]. F[riedrich]. Waagen. "Kunstwerke und Künstler in England." Kunstwerke und Künstler in England und Paris. 2, Berlin, 1838, p. 303.

    G[ustav]. F[riedrich]. Waagen. Works of Art and Artists in England. London, 1838, vol. 3, p. 92, as by Rubens, but suggests that it is "a choice Mirevelt" [sic].

    W. Bode. "Alte Kunstwerke in den Sammlungen der Vereinigten Staaten." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 6, no. 1 (1895), p. 17, identifies it not as a Rubens but as "a characteristic, very early work of A. van Dyck, agreeing with a pair dating from the year 1618 [in the collection of] Prince Liechtenstein".

    Bulletin-Rubens 4 (1896), p. 206, notes Bode's attribution to Van Dyck.

    Wilhelm [von] Bode. Rembrandt und seine Zeitgenossen. Leipzig, 1906, p. 267.

    Emil Schaeffer. Van Dyck, des Meisters Gemälde. 1st ed. Stuttgart, 1909, ill. p. 137 [2nd ed. by Gustav Glück, 1931, ill. p. 83], as an early Van Dyck.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. "Frühwerke des Anton van Dyck in Amerika." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 21, no. 9 (1910), pp. 226–27, describes the style.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. The Art of the Low Countries. English ed. Garden City, N.Y., 1914, p. 238, as an early Van Dyck.

    Wilhelm von Bode. Die Meister der holländischen und vlämischen Malerschulen. 2nd ed. Leipzig, 1919, p. 350 [1st English ed., "Great Masters of Dutch and Flemish Painting," New York, 1909, pp. 310–11 n. 1], as by Van Dyck.

    Heinrich Rosenbaum. "Der junge Van Dyck." PhD diss., location unknown, Munich, 1928, pp. 17–18, 24 [see Ref. Liedtke 1984], dates it 1618, compares the pendant portraits in Liechtenstein, and describes the style with reference to Valentiner's comments.

    Walter Heil. "Die Van Dyck-Ausstellung in Detroit." Pantheon 4 (July–December 1929), p. 302, as one of Van Dyck's early portraits in the style of Rubens.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. A Loan Exhibition of Fifty Paintings by Van Dyck. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1929, unpaginated, no. 8, ill.

    Gustav Glück. Van Dyck, des Meisters Gemälde. 2nd ed. [1st ed. 1909]. Stuttgart, 1931, ill. p. 83 [1st ed. by Emil Schaeffer, 1909, ill. p. 137].

    Erik Larsen. L'opera completa di Van Dyck. Milan, 1980, vol. 1, p. 91, no. 96, ill., notes Rubens's influence and dates it about 1616–18.

    Walter A. Liedtke. "Flemish Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum—II: Van Dyck, Jordaens, Brouwer, and Others." Tableau 6 (February 15, 1984), pp. 29, 31.

    Walter A. Liedtke. Flemish Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1984, vol. 1, pp. 48–50; vol. 2, pl. 22, as painted by Van Dyck in Antwerp in about 1618.

    Walter A. Liedtke. "Anthony van Dyck." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 42 (Winter 1984/85), pp. 10, 13, 15, 20, 24, figs. 8–9 (color, overall and detail).

    John Pope-Hennessy. "Roger Fry and The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Oxford, China, and Italy: Writings in Honour of Sir Harold Acton on his Eightieth Birthday. London, 1984, p. 231.

    Erik Larsen. The Paintings of Anthony van Dyck. Freren, Germany, 1988, vol. 1, pp. 165, 393 n. 103, fig. 85; vol. 2, p. 14, no. 13.

    Susan J. Barnes in Anthony van Dyck. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1990, p. 87, under nos. 4 and 5, as one of the portraits in a group that can be dated 1618.

    Rüdiger Klessmann. Die flämischen Gemälde des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts. Braunschweig, 2003, p. 30, under no. 86.

  • Notes

    The cradled panel, made up of three boards joined vertically, is in fairly good condition. It has been considerably retouched in the background, at left.

    Although attributed to Rubens until the late 19th century, this portrait has been recognized almost unanimously as a Van Dyck, dating from about the time that he served as Rubens's assistant. The pictures closest to it in composition, execution, and date are the pendant portraits of 1618 of a man and wife and another "Portrait of a Man," all in the Liechtenstein collection, Vaduz. A comparison of these portraits and the Museum's picture suggests that the "Portrait of a Man" in the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig, still assigned to Rubens, is also by the young Van Dyck.

  • See also