Van Dyck’s magnificent self-portrait embarks on a major tour between 2015 and 2017 as a celebration of its acquisition for the nation in 2014. The tour gives visitors in Margate, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Edinburgh and London the chance to see the portrait, and appreciate the work in the context of British history and art.
The self-portrait is one of three painted by Van Dyck when he was in England, and it probably dates from the last years of his life. The artist shows himself fashionably dressed but apparently in the act of painting, the line of his right shoulder and sleeve suggesting his hand raised in the process of applying paint to a canvas just out of sight. The frame of this painting, crested with the sunflower motif associated with the artist, is of outstanding importance and is likely to have been designed with Van Dyck’s involvement.
Van Dyck’s last self-portrait (c.1640) was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery through a major fundraising appeal with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund in honour of David Verey CBE (Chairman of the Art Fund 2004-2014), the Portrait Fund, The Monument Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, several major individual supporters and donations from nearly 10,000 individuals across the country.