17th-century Flemish painter Van Dyck’s career was as short as it was dazzling. A student of Rubens, he very quickly became the favourite painter of princes and kings and was the portraitist of English and Italian families of the high nobility. With his rigorous compositions, Van Dyck endowed his models with dignity, grandeur, and spirituality. Proud ladies, lords gambolling on their horses — Van Dyck knew how to render the nonchalant elegance and the ennui of a refined society.
A Baroque painter with a shimmering style, he played with a palette light and nuanced, and reproduced with the greatest virtuosity garments of velour, satin, and silk. Van Dyck is considered the founder of the English school of portraiture. He was an influence on Lely, Dobson, Kneller, and most notably Reynolds and Gainsborough, as well as French painters of the eighteenth century.