Sir Endymion Porter and Anton van Dyck

Van Dyck was a 17th -century Flemish painter and a disciple of Rubens. As was customary among Flemish painters of the time, he travelled to Italy to study, and King Charles II of England heard of his success there. The monarch offered him the job of Court Painter, with the added incentives of a house in London and a summer villa on the outskirts. The offer was enough to convince Van Dyck to move to England, where he lived comfortably for the rest of his life. Van Dyck specialized in portraits of the King and the English aristocracy, and he set the high standard of English portraiture that would remain in place throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

This work is a double portrait, placed within an oval. On the left we see the aristocrat and friend of the painter, Sir Endymion Porter. He has a proud and distant gaze, and wears an elegant suit with plant motifs on the belt and cuffs, and a lace collar in the 17th- century fashion. On the right of this gentleman the artist has painted his self -portrait, dressed in black and with his face and body slightly turned to one side. Although he has made his patron the focus of the picture, by painting himself beside him he has aimed to highlight the important and noble rank that he has achieved as a painter. His honest gaze, directed at the viewer, is far more straightforward and humble than that of his companion.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero
English translation (a) Thisbe Burns