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    Friday, June 10th, 2011

    SIR ANTHONY VAN DYCK PORTRAIT OF A CARMELITE MONK. (copyright, Sotheby's). (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: IT MADE £713,250

    A newly discovered portrait by 17th Century Flemish painter Sir Anthony Van Dyck features at Sotheby’s sale of Old Master and British Paintings in London on July 6.  The intense and psychologically penetrating portrait of a young Carmelite monk is a hitherto unknown work, which Sotheby’s has discovered to have been painted by the youthful Van Dyck during the years he worked in Rubens’ studio.

    Early last year Sotheby’s Paris office did a routine valuation to appraise artwork. A painting of extraordinary quality which the family had owned for at least two centuries had always been known as the “Confesseur de Rubens”.  Experts say that while Rubens’ portraits are always formally composed, the current work, especially the way the young monk’s head is turned to one side, creates an impression of spontaneity.
    The brushwork in the picture, painted in oil on oak panel, is clearly legible. This is more reminiscent of Anthony Van Dyck when he worked in Rubens’ studio, than of his teacher. Specifically, the use of thick paint to denote highlights in the sitter’s habit is a characteristic of Van Dyck’s personal style at this date, and can be seen in a series of paintings the artist made of the Apostles.
    A large number of scholars have had the opportunity to study this picture at first hand. The consensus view is that it is by Van Dyck towards the end of the period during which he worked with Rubens in Rubens’ studio, circa 1617-1620.  It is assumed that Van Dyck painted this intense portrait in Rubens’ house in Antwerp.  It is estimated to make £600,000-£800,000.
    UPDATE: IT MADE £713,250