Sir Anthony van Dyck

Alexander Henderson, c 1583 - 1646. Presbyterian divine and diplomatist (About 1641)

About this artwork

Alexander Henderson was born in Creich, in Fife, and was one of the most important figures in the Church of Scotland in the early seventeenth century. He was one of the authors of the National Covenant, a document which pledged to maintain the 'true reformed religion' against the policies of Charles I. This serious and austere portrait by the king's court painter probably dates from 1641, when Henderson was in London negotiating with Charles I.

Sir Anthony van Dyck

Sir Anthony van Dyck

Van Dyck is perhaps most famous for the grand and elegant portraits he painted of the British aristocracy when he was court painter to King Charles I. He trained in Antwerp, and worked in Rubens’s studio as an assistant. His outstanding talents were recognised and encouraged by Rubens, who described him as his ‘best pupil’. Van Dyck developed his sumptuous portrait style during time spent in Italy, but also painted impressive religious, allegorical and mythical works. After returning to Antwerp for several years, Van Dyck moved to London in 1632, having accepted the King’s invitation to work for him, and remained there for the rest of his short but influential career.