Anthony van Dyck, Orazio Gentileschi, a portrait drawing

England, about AD 1632-39

This drawing was made to prepare an engraving in a series, known as the Iconographia, of portraits of contemporary artists, statesmen, collectors and scholars. Van Dyck began the series in 1627. He intended to have them published in Antwerp, but the series was not finished before van Dyck's death in 1641.

This drawing is made in black chalk with grey wash in the shadows. A few touches of pen and brown ink are also visible. Van Dyck drew it between 1632, the date of his arrival in London, and 1639, the year of Gentileschi's death. They must, however, have met before, in the early 1620s, in Genoa, Italy, when both artists were in the city. Certainly van Dyck made drawings after the Italian artist's Genoese paintings.

Gentileschi (1563-1639) was born in Pisa and worked in Rome where he was in contact with Caravaggio (1573-1610). He moved to Paris in about 1623-24 and while there he was encouraged by the duke of Buckingham to come to England. In 1626 he arrived in London and entered the service of the young Charles I (reigned 1625-49) whose love and understanding of painting were genuine and profound. He painted several pictures on Old Testament themes for the king, and the decorated ceiling of the Queen's House at Greenwich, London.

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More information


Sir O. Millar, Van Dyck in England (London, National Portrait Gallery, 1982)

G. Finaldi (ed.), Orazio Gentileschi at the cour (London, The National Gallery, 1999)

L. Stainton and C. White, Drawing in England from Hillia (London, The British Museum Press, 1987)


Height: 236.000 mm
Width: 178.000 mm

Museum number

PD Gg.2-238 (Hind 35)


Bequeathed by C.M. Cracherode


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