The Information On: `Van Dyck 1599-1641'

What Is It?

The Royal Academy's autumn exhibition marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of Anthony Van Dyck. The artist, born in Antwerp in 1599, arrived at the court of Charles I in 1632 and became the English portraitist par excellence with his impressions of countless nobles and royals, as well as their children and dogs. In addition to the portraits, the show also features some of his rarer mythological and religious works.

What They Say About It

"Van Dyck never stops you in your tracks or knocks you down. Come on, where does he stand, really? Who's he better than? I can't think of any near- contemporary portraiture - Hals's, Velazquez's, Philippe de Champaigne's - I wouldn't rather be seeing a show of. It's obvious when you say it: Van Dyck's? Oh, fine stuff! But the only really good one is the dead one," Tom Lubbock, The Independent.

"This exhibition proves, perhaps, that Van Dyck was a far more interestingly influential, important, exciting and - at his best - a far better painter than we grudgingly allow," Brian Sewell, The Evening Standard.

"There really is something tangibly intoxicating about the arrival of such a large fish as Van Dyck in such a small artistic pond as the doomed England of Charles I. Van Dyck obviously did change the course of British art. He obviously was the possessor of exceptionally quick and brilliant hands. He certainly can be described as the inventor of the British portrait tradition," Waldemar Januszczak, Sunday Times.

Where You Can See It

Van Dyck 1599-1641 is at the Royal Academy, Piccadilly, London W1 (0171- 413 1717) to 10 December