Van Dyck and Britain

 

Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) was the greatest painter in seventeenth-century Britain. Though trained in Flanders, he had a huge impact on British cultural life as the principal painter at King Charles I's ostensibly elegant court, where his impact was similar to that of Hans Holbein at the court of Henry VIII.

Van Dyck was born and trained in the great art centre of Antwerp. He made a brief visit to London in 1620-1 before returning in 1632 to King Charles I's court. Intensely ambitious and hugely productive, he re-invented portrait-painting in Britain, retaining his pre-eminence until his premature death at the age of 42. Working in a period of intense political ferment during the run-up to the British Civil War, van Dyck portrayed many of the leading characters of the period. His iconic portraits of King Charles I have shaped our view of the Stuart monarchy, while the compositions he used influenced many future generations of British painters.

Tate

Ms Sarah Stopford

Guide and lecturer at Tate Britain and Tate Modern. Studied art history as part of her first degree at Harvard. After a further degree in English at Cambridge and a career as a teacher of English literature in both the United States and England, she has returned to the world of art history where her special interests are in British and post-1900 art as well as the connections between literature and the visual arts.