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The Image of a King

Sat 31 March 2012, 11.00amSun 16 September 2012, 5.00pm

Antwerp-born Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641) is one of Britain’s best-loved artists – a virtuoso portraitist who excelled in creating imposing images of King Charles I and his family during the 1630s. Possibly Van Dyck’s most impressive and original court portrait was the superb Charles I in Three Positions of 1635, a work which not only captures the certainty of the monarch’s beliefs but also conveys his wistful, reserved and doomed air.

It was painted for the great sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini as a guide to the King’s features for a marble portrait bust (now lost). This fabulous picture, on loan from the Royal Collection, is shown in British Portraits alongside Compton Verney’s portrait bust of Charles I, itself a copy of the original by Bernini.