Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, 15991641)
Oil on canvas; 43 x 35 3/4 in. (109.2 x 90.8 cm); with added strips 44 1/8 x 37 in. (112.1 x 94 cm)
Bequest of Lillian S. Timken, 1959 (60.71.5)
Between 1621 and 1627, van Dyck was in Italy, where he absorbed the work of the Italian painters as Rubens had done two decades before him. Van Dyck was chiefly concerned with the lesson of North Italian painters, above all Titian, whose example helped form the poetic and elegant style of the religious pictures, mythologies, and portraits he painted later in Antwerp and England. This painting was probably executed in Antwerp shortly after his return from Italy, and reveals his study of Titian as well as Correggio and Parmigianino. A Virgin and Child with Saint Catherine by van Dyck was sent to Charles I of England as a New Year's gift in 1632, and another was sent to Holland at the same time. It has been suggested that the present picture was one of these two paintings.