A Grey Horse

Anthony van DyckBefore 1641

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery

This is a study for the portrait Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, on Horseback, now in the Uffizi. Van Dyck’s fluid handling, particularly evident in the horse’s airy mane, imbues the image with spontaneity and vigour. Assistants in van Dyck’s workshop would have used this sketch when working on other compositions; this perhaps explains the fragmented state of the paper. Furthermore, when Bourgeois acquired this sketch he attempted to restore it by filling the gaps, such as the horse’s lower legs.

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  • Title: A Grey Horse
  • Date: Before 1641
  • Physical Dimensions: w436 x h476 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Notes: DPG73 is presumably a copy after Van Dyck's modello of the horse (London, Christies', 13.12.2000, lot 30) for his equestrian portrait of Emperor Charles V (Florence, Uffizi: see Larsen, 1988, i, p. 219, ii, p. 428, no. A54). It is interesting that the picture should be paper on oak panel and with a crude sketch of a figure with outstretched arms on the reverse - other pictures (eg London, Courtauld) by Van Dyck also have sketches on the reverse are on paper pasted on panel. The modello was at Wilton House until the early 19th century. In short, the picture bears closer examination. A large version on canvas hangs in the dining room at Higham Court, Gloucester.Perhaps the 'spirited Sketch' bt by Bourgeois 1806/05/31 [???].
  • Work Nationality: Flemish
  • Support: Paper on panel
  • Provenance: London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811; 1813 inv., no. 297.
  • Further Information: Van Dyck likely modelled his posthumous equestrian portrait of Charles V--now in the Uffizi--on Titian’s famous Equestrian Portrait of Charles V at the battle of Muhlberg. Indeed, this sketch of A Grey Horse assumes a very similar pose to that in Titian’s painting. Titian’s horse is black, however, and Van Dyck’s grey.
  • Artist: van Dyck, Sir Anthony
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)


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