Works by Van Dyck: the portrait of Cardinal Bentivoglio

Anton Van Dyck | Ritratto del Cardinale Bentivoglio


Great artists were almost all precocious talents, today we’d call them children prodigy, and Anton Van Dyck is one of them.
Rubens considered him to be his best pupil, and at the age of 16 Anton Van Dyck set up his own workshop in Antwerp, and he was able to get important commissions.

Van Dyck was certainly a great artist, but especially an extraordinary portraitist; and for this reason, European aristocracy and European courts wanted his works, also because he travelled a lot, especially to Italy, in order to study the ancient and modern masters, as his master Rubens had done.
READ ALSO: the post with 5 things to know about Rubens.

And one of Van Dyck’s masterpieces is the “Portrait of Cardinal Bentivoglio”, painted around 1622 and housed at the Pitti Palace in Florence.

Anton Van Dyck | Ritratto del Cardinale Bentivoglio

Anton Van Dyck, Ritratto del Cardinale Bentivoglio (1622 circa)

Faces painted by Van Dyck were able to represent the personality of the subject he depicted, and after him it wasn’t possible to paint austere and solemn portraits, but everybody wanted colours, details and realism introduced by his style.
The Portrait of Cardinal Bentivoglio is a full-length portrait of Guido Bentivoglio, portrayed while sitting in his studio, and a thought, a noise or maybe the presence of somebody distracts his attention from the documents he’s reading.
The cardinal served as the papal ambassador in Flanders, was a very cultured man, famous for being a writer and an essayist. He hosted Van Dyck in Rome when the artist arrived in Italy.
With this painting Van Dyck proved to be an all-round and mature artist.

Thanks to his talent and study of masterpieces of Italian painting, in particular painting of Veneto and works by Titian, Van Dyck was able to renovate a genre of painting, the portrait painting, which seemed to be destined to remain the same as itself. Hence, when we admire the Portrait of Cardinal Bentivoglio on exhibition in Florence, the cardinal comes alive and seems to be still absorbed in the documents he’s reading in his studio.

Anton Van Dyck, Portrait of Cardinal Bentivoglio, Galleria Palatina di Palazzo Pitti – Florence (Italy).

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