Portrait of Wolfgang William of Palatine-Neuburg

Anthony van Dyckc. 1630

Kunsthalle Bremen

Kunsthalle Bremen
Bremen, Germany

In the years between his return from Italy (1621) and his departure for England (1632), Anthony van Dyck created numerous portraits in Antwerp. His technical prowess was so great that the portraits were, for the most part, executed directly on the canvas. The portrait of Wolfgang William, Count Palatine of the Rhine at Neuburg and Duke of Jülich-Berg, is exemplary of van Dyck’s superb command of portraying the patron’s elegance, self-assurance, and craving for recognition. It shows the count palatine in a fulllength portrait, of the kind reserved for the sovereign ruler, in elegant, discreet black clothing. His left hand grasping a sword, he has placed his right hand on the ribbon of the Order of the Golden Fleece, which had been bestowed upon him in 1615. The count palatine is framed by luminous red drapery as well as a massive column, a symbol of strength. Next to him, on an exquisite rug, stands a mastiff, a symbol of loyal obedience, as is further emphasized by the initials “W P” (Wolfgangus princeps) on the dog’s collar. Another version of this portrait can be found in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich. Numerous other variations and copies exist, which the ruler used to disseminate his likeness. In the wake of the conflicts arising from his inheritance of the Duchy of Jülich and his conversion to the Catholic faith, the count palatine often spent time in the southern Netherlands, Spain, and France for political reasons.


  • Title: Portrait of Wolfgang William of Palatine-Neuburg
  • Creator: Anton van Dyck
  • Date Created: c. 1630
  • Physical Dimensions: 204.5 x 141.0 cm
  • Type: painting
  • Rights: Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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