In order to put together an accurate picture of Anthony van Dyck, art historians have been forced to draw in documentation from those connected to his life. Sources from those in his studio plus some of his wealthy donors have left clues as to his life and methods of work.

An examination of Van Dyck's paintings also reveals much about his own influences, even though we may not have much written documentation to back up any theories. When placing the travels of the artist around Italy with the undeniable similarities between his work and that of Titian, it can fairly be assumed that this was a major influence on his artistic style.

Quotes and Opinions by Art Historians on Anthony van Dyck

Charles I understood that image was important in terms of communicating power, and in his case what was known as ‘The Divine Right of Kings’, which meant that he was chosen by his Christian God to rule his country. Today he might be celebrated as someone who had understood the importance of marketing his image and solidifying his brand. Van Dyck provided Charles I with the most up-to-date visual statement of power, in the same way that Holbein had done for Henry VIII.

In Focus, Sir Anthony van Dyck, National Portrait Gallery

With the exception of Holbein, van Dyck and his contemporary Diego Velázquez were the first painters of pre-eminent talent to work mainly as court portraitists, revolutionising the genre. He is best known for his portraits of European aristocracy, most notably Charles I and his family and associates; Van Dyck became the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next 150 years.