An Unknown Genoese Lady
attributed to Sir Anthony Van Dyck (Antwerp 1599 - London 1641)
This picture was formerly attributed to Rubens, whose name still appears on the frame. However, stylistically, it is much closer to his pupil, Van Dyck. X-ray photographs have revealed a number of sketches beneath the figure, including a pointing hand, a bare tree, as well as figural studies. The technique found in the X-ray is not that usually encountered with Van Dyck. The black ground which is seen here is caused by a lack of white lead in the paint; whereas X-rays of paintings by Van Dyck normally have a mottled effect produced by a mixture of white lead, and the painting on top, due to the opaqueness of this ground, tends to be almost invisible.
Oil painting on canvas, An Unknown Genoese Lady, attributed to Sir Anthony Van Dyck (Antwerp 1599 - London 1641), 1622/28. A half-length portrait of a woman, turned slightly to the left, gazing at the spectator, wearing a black dress and with her right hand fingering a gold chain on her breast.
Petworth House, The Egremont Collection (acquired in lieu of tax by HM Treasury in 1956 and subsequently transferred to the National Trust)
Makers and roles
attributed to Sir Anthony Van Dyck (Antwerp 1599 - London 1641), artist previously catalogued as attributed to Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577 - Antwerp 1640), artist