This is most probably a later copy after an as yet unidentified work by Sir Anthony van Dyck. During the course of his career Van Dyck painted various compositions in monochrome – usually in grey or brown but sometimes in other colours. Although they are often classed together under the rubric of oil sketches, his use of monochrome oils is in itself a very complex process, illustrative of his remarkable versatility. In some cases he made summary sketches as preparatory designs for larger compositions; in others, he made meticulous copies, or 'ricordi', of finished paintings. For the 'Iconography', a series of more than 100 portrait engravings after famous people, Van Dyck used his own black chalk drawings and oil sketches as well as oil sketches by his assistants as models for the finished prints.
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