Study Head of a Young Woman

Anthony van Dyck Flemish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 639

Study heads of this type were painted by Van Dyck using live models, whose features were then repeated in finished pictures, usually of religious subjects. For example, this sketch served as the prototype for a likeness of the Virgin Mary in a depiction of the Holy Family. The iconography of the melancholy young woman with long hair streaming down her shoulders also suits images of Mary Magdalen. Intriguingly, an early biographer tells us that Van Dyck once depicted his sister Susanna in that guise.

Study Head of a Young Woman, Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, Antwerp 1599–1641 London), Oil on paper, laid down on wood

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.