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.