New evidence suggests that the firstknown owner of both portraits, the important collector Costantino Balbi, did not acquire the female portrait until 1724, but had acquired the supposed companion-portrait from the estate of Bartolomeo Saluzzo as early as 1706. The gentleman was formerly thought to be Bartolomeo Giustiniani, and the picture may indeed have come from this family. There is also the matter of the formal and artistic differences: the gentleman fills the width of the picture more completely, and is sitting lower. Here the carpet is missing, there the landscape view. The architectural forms also differ in detail. But above all the brushstrokes in the male portrait are broader, the paint thicker, while in the female portrait the surfaces are smoother and more delicately handled, with small highlights and finely-drawn detail in the eyes and mouth. This different handling of paint can also be seen in the gown, most clearly in the lace. Van Dyck probably spent almost six years in Italy from late 1621, particularly in Genoa.


  • Title: Portrait of a Genoese Lady
  • Creator: Anton van Dyck
  • Date Created: around 1621
  • Physical Dimensions: w118.0 x h203.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Style: Flemish
  • Copyright Text: Text: © http://www.prestel.com, Prestel Verlag / Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Matthias Weniger // Photo: © http://www.bpk-images.de, b p k - Photo Agency / Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jörg P. Anders
  • Collection: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist information: Anton van Dyck, a famous Flemish Baroque artist, is best known for his portraits of Charles I, King of England, Scotland and Ireland. He studied painting at a very early age under Hendrick van Balen and eventually became master pupil of Peter Paul Rubens. He went on to become the leading court painter in England, was ennobled by the King, and dominated portrait painting in that country for the next 150 years thanks to his relaxed elegance and inventive use of watercolours and etching techniques. 'Van Dyck brown' is an oil paint pigment named after him. Apart from portraits, he also painted mythological and biblical subjects, as seen in 'Cupid and Psyche' (1638).
  • Artist Place of Death: London, United Kingdom
  • Artist Place of Birth: Antwerp, Belgium
  • Artist Gender: male
  • Artist Dates: 1599/1641

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