Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, 15991641)
Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash; 11 3/8 x 7 7/8 in. (29.8 x 20 cm)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift and Gift of Dr. Mortimer D. Sackler, Theresa Sackler and Family, and Promised Gift of Leon D. and Debra R. Black, 2003 (2003.27)
Although not widely known as a landscapist, documentary records and surviving works like this one imply that van Dyck concerned himself with landscape as much as did his master, Peter Paul Rubens (15771640), whose landscapes have always stood in high regard. In vigorous yet controlled lines of pen and brown ink with virtuoso washes, van Dyck created a stunning depiction of a simple tree before a farm building. The fresh sheet seems to have been done directly from nature. It might have been made in preparation for the background in a painting, although such a painting has not survived. The inscribed date is not fully legible, but the sheet probably belongs in the early 1630s, after his extensive Italian travels (162127). The drawing reflects van Dyck's great admiration for Italian masters like Titian and Guercino.