BEHIND THE ‘SEEN’: ‘Entry of Christ into Jerusalem’ by Anthony Van Dyck is our Art reflection for Palm Sunday.

Another painter reconciled to the pages of art history is Anthony Van Dyck. He was born in 1599 in Antwerp to a flourishing family of a silk merchant. A child prodigy, at the age of 16 he had already set up his own art studio. Next he was the master in the Guild of St. Luke at Antwerp. Hailed for his dexterity in portrait painting, he soon went places. In 1620, he visited London, next Genoa and Venice painting imposing portraits of the wealthy. He was also a court artist to Archduchess Isabella, Frederick Henry, Dutch Prince of Orange and Charles I, King of England.

Van Dyck portraits were also flattery at times. This is best expressed by Electoress Sophia of Hanover when she first met Queen Henrietta Maria of England. She wrote, ‘Van Dyck’s handsome portraits had given me so fine an idea of the beauty of all English ladies, that I was surprised to find that the Queen, who looked so fine in painting, was a small woman raised up on her chair, with long skinny arms and teeth like defence works projecting from her mouth.’

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