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Vandyke

Vandyke, Sir Anthony (1599-1641), great portrait-painter, was born at Antwerp, being the son of a wealthy merchant there. He studied under Rubens from 1615 to 1619, and in 1621 went on a visit to Italy. Previous to his departure he had executed some excellent works, earning the good opinion of Rubens, whose favourite pupil he was. In Italy he painted many fine portraits and other works, and returned in 1626 to Antwerp. His countrymen, aware of his genius, welcomed him cordially, and overwhelmed him with commissions. He came to England in 1629, but only for a short period; as he failed to attract Charles I.'s notice, he was greatly disappointed. He was specially invited to England in 1632, and was knighted by the king and appointed court painter with an annuity o 200. He painted innumerable portraits of the king and the royal family, and has also left a remarkable and unique series of historical English portraits, many of which are in the royal collections and in the national galleries. He died in Blackfriars, and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. He left an only daughter, his wife being Mary, daughter of Dr. Ruthven and granddaughter of the Earl of Gowrie. His portraits are notable for their ease and grace, and his management of draperies was masterly. Few painters have excelled him in the painting of the head. His portraits are a great national possession, but his historical works are also fine.

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