Iconographie (Lucas Vorsterman I)


Anthony van Dyck, ca. 1627 — 1646
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

One of the more famous and large-scale projects of the seventeenth century is the so-called Iconographie series by Anthony van Dyck – an extensive collection of engraved portraits immortalizing his contemporaries, including eminent artists, collectors and philosophers. The series was reprinted several times starting from 1632, with new entries being added with each reprint up until the eighteenth century. The etchings by Van Dyck himself are considered to be the best ones. They reveal a distinctive, masterfully executed, vibrating style, in which he focuses meticulously on modeling the sitter’s head and facial features. The effect of an unfinished product stands from the fact that  professional engravers – some of the best craftsmen of the time – would complete these portraits after Van Dyck’s initial sketches. The Iconographie series started a new page in the history of printmaking and engraved portraits, and has become a monument for artistic ambition, the spirit of brave innovation, as well as an amazing testimony to an era, expressed through the images of people, who themselves contributed largely to shaping it.

Dmitrijs Zinovjevs, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Latvijas Nacionälä Bibliotëka, Riga

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A series of lectures on the Iconographie organised by The Frick Collection

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Online exhibition on the Iconographie by the Frick Collection

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