We investigate the story behind ArtFund's ongoing campaign to save Van Dyck's final self-portrait for the United Kingdom.
The only self-portrait by Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641) in Britain is at risk of being sold abroad. Though currently displayed at the National Portrait Gallery, London, an anonymous overseas buyer has brought it for £12.5m. If this amount is not matched by July 2014 the painting could permanently leave the country.
It is only one of three self-portraits known to have been created while he was in Britain. Fortunately, you can still view and license a reproduction of this masterpiece via our archive.
The National Portrait Gallery and charity ArtFund are working hard to buy back this masterpiece and keep it in Britain. With public support, they have so far raised £1.7m (December 2013).
Unlike many other contemporary self-portraits, Van Dyck is not shown in the act of painting, although critics theorise that the lifting of his right arm suggests that he is holding a paintbrush.
Van Dyck in Britain
Though born in the Netherlands, Van Dyck lived and worked in London between 1632 and 1642, finding fame in the court of King Charles I. His portraits of the monarch and his subjects earned him celebrity status, a knighthood and the title of 'Principle Painter'. Even after his death, he remained an influence on British portraiture.