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Portrait of Hendrick van Balen

Anthony van Dyckabout 1627–1632

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Anthony Van Dyck's former teacher, Hendrick van Balen, lived in Antwerp and painted religious and mythological themes. Van Dyck made this portrait as a study for a print that was part of a series known as The Iconography. This series was a collection of portraits of distinguished artists, soldiers, statesmen, administrators, and scholars of the early 1600s.

Using only black chalk, Van Dyck created a striking characterization of his old teacher. By placing Van Balen's right hand on the head of an antique bust while his left presses a soft cloth close to his chest, Van Dyck effectively suggested the erudition and refined personality of his mentor.

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