(Born Antwerp, 22 March 1599; died London, 9 December 1641). Apart from Rubens, the outstanding Flemish painter of the 17th century, renowned chiefly as one of the greatest of all portraitists. In 1609 he was apprenticed to Hendrick van Balen in Antwerp. He was exceptionally precocious and on his earliest dated painting (Portrait of a Man aged 70, 1613, Mus. Royaux, Brussels) he has proudly inscribed his own age (14) as well as that of the sitter. From about 1617 to 1620 he was Rubens's chief assistant, but in this period he also painted works of his own and established an independent reputation: in 1620 the Earl of Arundel's secretary wrote from Antwerp to tell his employer that ‘Van Dyck is still with Signor Rubens, and his works are hardly less esteemed than those of his master.’

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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