Pieter Brueghel the Younger looks directly at the viewer; it is striking that he is somewhat cross-eyed. In his right hand he holds a rolled-up piece of paper, the right arm is supported by the draped cloak, alluding to a Roman toga. Van Dyck probably started on the preparation for his Iconography or 'Icones Principum Virorum' immediately after his return from Italy. Originally the Iconography was a collection of portraits of artists and art collectors, but later the project was extended to portraits of monarchs, commanding officers, statesmen and scholars. It was Van Dyck’s intention to personally etch the faces and to have the clothing and background finished by an engraver, but he himself only etched 18 portraits of mainly fellow-artists who were his friends. This etching of the portrait of Pieter Brueghel the Younger was also created completely by Anthony van Dyck. Afterwards Van Dyck called on the assistance of Paulus Pontius, Schelte Adamsz Bolswert, Pieter de Jode, and Lucas Vorsterman, engravers with whom he may well already have worked in Rubens’s workshop. Most of the prints in the Iconography were based on drawings from life that Van Dyck himself made with a view to his Iconography. As preparation for this etching Van Dyck made a drawing which is now in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire in Chatsworth (England).
Portrait of Pieter Breughel (II the youngster)
1630 – 1640
159 mm x 251 mm
CC BY (Creative Commons 4.0)