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Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641)


Etching by Anthony Van Dyck and engraving by Jacques Neeffs (1604-c.1667), fourth state (of seven)

In 1645, four years after Van Dyck's death, the publisher Gillis Hendricx chose to transform Van Dyck's etched self portrait into a title page for his edition of the Iconography, the uniform series of portrait prints after Van Dyck's designs. Hendricx acquired the eighty plates from their first publisher, Martin Van den Enden, added fifteen of Van Dyck's portrait etchings and commissioned more to bring the total to one hundred, hence the word Centum in the title. The printmaker he employed to rework and finish the self portrait was Jacques Neeffs. Neefs transformed Van Dyck's head into a bust sculpture placed on top of a pedestal. Van Dyck's coat of arms appears at the centre, and at the sides there are two smaller profile busts: Minerva (left) with a trumpet, and Mercury (right) with his caduceus. A letter engraver has then added the title for the edition, which claims that the plates for the Iconography were engraved at Van Dyck's expense. Initially, the date 1645 was added under Hendricx's name, but many impressions survive with the last digit changed to a '6', suggesting that the edition did not appear until that year. In this impression the date has been removed from the copperplate altogether, so it is difficult to know exactly when Hendricx printed it.

Jacques Neeffs also reworked the portrait of Frans Snyders

Click on the link below to view this print's record in the Museum's Online Public Access Catalogue