A self portrait of Anthony Van Dyck is in the danger of leaving Britain as it has been bought by a private collector from America. The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) is trying hard to raise funds to reclaim it from the collector and keep it in Britain as it is one of the finest and most important self-portraits in British art. The government is helping out by slapping a temporary export ban on the painting. The fund required is £12.5 million and NPG has to do it in just three months time. If successful, it will be the largest campaign ever undertaken by NPG. It has started in right earnest by putting up 10% of the targeted amount. £1.2m has already been raised including a grant of £500,000 towards the acquisition and £700,000 from the Gallery’s Portrait Fund and acquisition budget.
Experts Believe that Van Dyck’s Portrait is Revolutionary Work
The self portrait by Sir Anthony Van Dyck is by far the world’s most expensive selfie. The Flemish artist was born in Antwerp in 1599 and came to Britain in 1632 at the invitation of Charles I. He was given the title of Principal Painter and awarded the knighthood. He made several portraits of Charles and made the frail king appear imposing and powerful. Experts believe that his self portrait is revolutionary work which gave a new direction to portraiture style. The Tudor and Jacobean style had a formal approach which was rather stiff but Van Dyck brought in a distinctive fluid, painterly style which continued to dominate portraiture well into the 20th century.
The Fund Raising Campaign Could be Extended by 5 Months
Van Dyck’s self portrait was made shortly before he died, possibly of plague, in 1641. It has been held in a private collection for almost 400 years. It was part of Earl of Jersey’s family collection before it was sold in an auction in 2009 for £8.3 million. It was a record for a Van Dyck. NPG has launched the campaign to save the painting for Britain on several fronts including an appeal to make £5 donations through text. If they can demonstrate that the movement has the backing of the public then the government is prepared to extend the fund raising period by another five months. Similar campaigns for saving Titian’s Diana and Actaeon (£50m) and Raphael’s, Madonna of the Pinks (£22m) have succeeded and there is no reason why the campaign save the most expensive self portrait should not succeed.