Portrait of a Man - Technique and Styles
Portrait of a Man
Anthonis Van Dyck
The whole figure, which looks as if it was cut out, stands out clearly in front of the background which is typical of Van Dyck's formal portraits. Red drapery comes down from the upper right corner in rich undulations, and a twisted fluted pillar stands on a high pedestal, and a balustrade. The fine structuring reflects a masterly feel for precious fabrics of various textures, and a sense for refined elegance, which probably did not reflect the real appearance of the sitter.
Unlike the figure, the background decoration was not "finished" but just roughly sketched. Probably here, too, as often before, Van Dyck let his apprentices do the tiresome painting of the background which elevates the nobleman in an eloquent fashion, as is emphasized by his half-closed eyes and an apparent distancing. The portrait was made in the late period of the artist's work.