Dyck, Anthony van (1599-1641; Flemish)
3 etchings from the Iconography (c.1626-32)
Each approx.24.3 x 15.5 cm (plate size)
Purchased, 1891 (advice of Hubert von Herkomer)
National Gallery of Victoria (p.185.1-1 to 3-1)

[photo: Self-Portrait (c.1626-32) (p.185.1-1)]

Van Dyck’s Iconography, published after his death by Gilles Hendricx (Antwerp, 1645), depicted 100 contemporary artists, including himself.

Many of the plates were wholly or partly engraved by others; but early impressions of the 18 plates that van Dyck himself etched (now dated to c.1626-32) are particularly sought after, and three of these were purchased for Melbourne from the sale of Seymour Haden’s collection in 1891: Self-Portrait [p.185.1-1]; Joos de Momper II [p.185.2-1]; and Frans Francken the Younger [p.185.3-1].

The first of these, the rare first state of van Dyck’s self-portrait (reproduced here), is etched with the flair and directness he brought to many of his painted portraits; compare in particular his famous Self-Portrait with a Sunflower (Trinity College, Cambridge, c.1633).

The completed print, finished by Jacob Neefs (1610-after 1660), and published as the frontispiece of the Iconography in 1645, shows the artist’s head on a rather implausible bust, perched on a column inscribed with the title of the collection. The NGV also holds an impression of this later print, acquired in 1959.


AR 1891, p.25; NGV 1894, pp.61-2 (II.Stawell Gallery, nos.109-111); NGV 1905, p.75 (II.Stawell Gallery, no.158) [£63/40/48]

For the NGV’s impressions bought in 1891, see the gallery’s online catalogue; also including the completed image of the artist’s self-portrait published in 1645: https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/22036/ (from the complete set of the Iconography acquired for the NGV through the Everard Studley Miller Bequest in 1959)

The standard general reference is Marie Mauquoy-Hendricks, L’Iconographie d’Antoine van Dyck, Brussels, 1956, reflecting the older view that van Dyck’s own etched contributions dated from c.1635. Modern opinion puts them earlier, as noted above: see e.g. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/gallery/vandyck/etcher/etchings.html

For van Dyck’s self-portrait in Cambridge, see e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_van_Dyck#/media/File:Anthonyvandyckselfportrait.jpeg