The alignment of talent and time period was fortuitous for the renowned portraitist Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641). His birthplace of Antwerp, Belgium, was a bustling port of international trade, made wealthy primarily by its success in the textile industry. Its artistic pedigree was bolstered by a high population of artisans supplying luxury goods for export. Fine artists also found professional support within the regimented guild system, which provided training and opportunities through apprenticeships. Painters, like the famed Peter Paul Rubens (JAMA cover, April 17, 2002) and Van Dyck, were members of the Guild of St Luke. Painters also enjoyed the patronage of more modest citizens, with many Antwerp households counting multiple pieces of art in their household inventories. It was fertile ground for a precocious youngster with an intrinsic talent for art.
Butt CA. Susanna Fourment and Her DaughterAnthony van Dyck . JAMA. 2016;315(18):1932-1933. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.14255