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Biography & pictures

The Flemish painter Anthony Van Dyck -- also Van Dijck -- was born in Antwerp (Spanish Netherlands, now Belgium) on March 22, 1599. He was apprenticed to a local painter when he was 10, and at 16 Van Dyck had pupils of his own. Two years later he became an independent painter. By the time he was 20 years old he was working as one of Rubens's specialised assistants.

In 1632 he was invited to the English court, where King Charles I knighted him and gave him a house in London and a pension. Charles I, his queen and the lords and ladies of the court had their portraits painted by Van Dyck. He died in London on December 9, 1641, and was buried in St Paul's Cathedral. His grave was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Van Dyck was probably the best portrait painter of his time. He gave his subjects an aristocratic bearing and refined features in a way that no other painter had done before. His style influenced many artists for centuries after his death, in Britain particularly Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds.

Very complete biography:

Brief biography -- link to pictures in top left corner

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.