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It was common practice for a successful artist such as Van Dyck to employ a number of studio assistants. He himself had begun his career as an assistant in Rubens’ studio, and later established his own workshops in Antwerp and Blackfriars.

Charity is just one of several studio copies painted
after the original by Van Dyck in the National Gallery, London. It reflects a strong Italian influence, suggesting that the original was created soon after Van Dyck’s return from Italy in 1627. The involvement of a less experienced student is particularly obvious in the application of colour, which is less subtle than the original.

Details

  • Title: Charity
  • Creator: Workshop of Anthony van Dyck
  • Date: 1599/1641
  • Physical Dimensions: w1054 x h1419 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Notes: A sketch for the head in the Ashmolean. Acc. to 1905 cat. repetitions of the subject in the collection of Lord Methuen and Mr Hope.A copy after Van Dyck (124.5 x 108 cm.) is at Museum Schloß Mosigkau near Dessau: provenance: Frederik Hendrik von Nassau Oranien, goveror of the Netherlands and his wife Amalie von Solms.The original painted between 1622-27 (according to Cust in Turin). A copy in Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv. no. 3682 (acc. to Vienna cat. a copy after a version in Swiss private coll.). Larsen, 1988, p. 279, no. 693, suggests this is an original by Van Dyck. He lists copies at Wiesbaden, Coll. Mandl; Lowther Castle, Earl of Lonsdale (Peter van der Ploeg of teh Mauritshuis writes that its provenance was Frederik Henrik, 1646, and inventory 1654-8: ‘In C. rost, ‘der alte Nassau-Oranische Bilderschatz und sein spätere Verbleib’, Jahrbuch der Kunstwissenschaft 1873, it is supposed that this (original) version was bequethed to stadtholder-king William III of England in 1997 by his niece Albertine Agnes van Nassau-Dietz. His other niece Henriëtte Catharina had a copy painted to keep herself, which nowadays is in the Staatliches Museum Schloß Mosigkau, Dessau Germany. The version given to William III is mentioned as having been in Lowther Castle and Corsham House later on.’); Location unknown, previously Deepdene, Thomas Hope; Vienna, Ksthistmus.A 17th century copy cleaned at the Bowes Museum in 1977 (provenance details in file). Another copy in California (see letter in file). Acc. to Smith copies in the coll. of Paul Methuen; Thomas Hope; Earl of Londsdale. Corsham House. A photocopy in the file records a version owned by Poelvoorde Guy, Fort Lapin 37, 8000, Brugge, Belgium.Written on back of canvas ‘P. Miller - Liner’.One of the versions was engraved by C. van Caukercken (d. 1680); Ryland.
  • Work Nationality: Flemish
  • Support: Canvas
  • Provenance: London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811.
  • Further Information: In this painting Van Dyck personifies Charity. Charity was the most important of the three theological virtues, the others being Faith and Hope. In the medieval church Charity was a means by which the devout could express their love of both God and one’s neighbour. Artists have depicted the personification of Charity in a number of different ways. In Italy, the image of a woman offering nourishment to several children was most commonly employed and likely influenced Van Dyck’s composition.
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)

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