This work appeared very early in Van Dyck's career, when he was only just entering his early twenties. Whilst still impressionisable and looking for guidance, there is still clear evidence of his prodigious talent which first led his father to help him make a start in his career.
This painting is not in the style of what we now tend to think of being typically Van Dyck. The content is not the standard portrait, sometimes with elements of landscape. It feels more mythological, but still provides an important addition to his oeuvre.
This artist produced study drawings for many of his portraits and it is likely that he did so here too. Sadly, most of his study sketches were lost soon after his career, such was the fragility of that particular medium. We will never know for sure, therefore, as to just precisely how much preparation he put into this particular project.
The style used in this work is very much that of Van Dyck's master - Peter Paul Rubens. The swirling activity and bright colour is very much inline with a period in the artist's life when we was still very much under the wing of the great man. Whilst developing in Rubens' studio, it was inevitable that his work would start to mirror that of his tutor. Later on, Van Dyck would begin to stamp his own signature style on his career and absorb other influences along the way.
The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden features much more besides Van Dyck in its permanent collection and ranks as one of the finest art museums in all of Germany. There are also significant works from the likes of Van Eyck, Dürer, Poussin, Vermeer and Giorgione to be found here. Their collection of original Lucas Cranach paintings is believed to be the finest in the world.