Sir Anthony Van Dyck – Charles I (1600-49)

Sir Anthony Van Dyck - Charles I (1600-49)

I was looking at paintings and came across this ‘three views’ portrait by Van Dyck. The dates of the King surprised me. I had somehow thought he was older when he died. No reason to think that, and a little reflection maybe would have told me that he probably was not old when he died. But there we are.

Charles I was a Stuart, and Stuarts reigned until James II was exiled and William III and Mary Il of the House of Orange succeeded to bring stability to the throne in line with the ascendancy of Protestantism . Then came the House of Hanover with George I, with a short detour with Edward VII of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and then the House Of Windsor and through to Charles III, King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Head of the Commonwealth of Nations.

It has been said that the European wars were wars between cousins; the Romanovs in Russia, the Hohenzollerns in Prussia, and the Windsors in Britain. It’s a convenient but simplistic view, but it is probably true that the German Kaiser harboured some resentments within the family that motivated his actions.


  1. Tamara says:

    Ah, Van Dyck!: I will forever remember the humongous exhibition decades ago at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC when I lived there and how I personally “discovered” him at that time. He was a prodigy from his teenage years onwards. Were you thinking of this particular portrait now because of our now King Charles III?

    I particularly love the way Van Dyck painted the folds of clothing, the soft gleam of silk, the burnished quality of armour and swords — phenomenal!

    Interesting analysis of yours here in the last paragraph, how horrible about family quarrels escalating to war!!


    1. Researching the spelling of his name it seems that in English a capitalised Van as in Van Dyck was preferred, at least until fairly recently. And as we two have it – we keep the capital V. The spelling ‘Dyke’ was also often used during his lifetime and later it became (and still is) the preferred spelling for the style of beard he wore.

      To answer your question, when I was going through various paintings and this one came up, I am sure that I stopped because of the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the coming to the throne of Charles III. I have often thought that the weight of history and mission must weigh heavy on anyone coming to the throne. When there is a King and a Queen, is it a troubles shared is a trouble halved, I wonder?


  2. Joan E. Miller says:

    Interesting background to the painting. I like the three views of the subject. I wonder if that became the “official” king’s portrait. I associate the name Van Dyck with beards. Is that the style of that period? Also, I took an alternative printing class for photography, and we did “Van Dyck brown,” which is a brown tinted photo.


    1. Ah yes, and Van Dyke brown is a paint for artists you can buy in a tube or one of those little cakes for watercolour and oils. I just checked, and it is indeed named after Anthony Van Dyck. 🙂

      Why they couldn’t keep the spelling of his name, I don’t know.


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