Anthony Van Dyck's "Andromeda Chained to the Rock" .
Anthony Van Dyck is a brilliant and tremendously influential portrait painter who .
was also a religious and narrative artist, a consummate draughtsman and etcher and a .
charming occasional landscape watercolorist. The seventh of twelve children born to a .
wealthy silk merchant in Belgium, Anthony van Dyck began to paint at an early age. By .
the age of nineteen, he had become a teacher in Antwerp. In his early twenties, van Dyck .
went to Italy, where he studied the paintings of Titian and Paolo Veronese and worked as .
a successful portrait painter for the Italian nobility. In 1621 Anthony van Dyck left .
Antwerp and his position as chief assistant to Peter Paul Rubens. He spent the next six .
years in Italy, conceiving a obsessive admiration for Titian and developing a mature .
painting style. He lived in England from 1632 to his death, becoming a fashionable .
portrait artist and court painter to King Charles I.
The piece that really stands out of all Van Dyck's work is Andromeda Chained to .
the Rock. Van Dyck's cultural environment and pictorial style come forward in this .
painting of Andromeda, the beautiful Ethiopian princess whose sacrifice was required to .
calm a sea monster ravaging the kingdom. Van Dyck depicts her chained in a rocky cave .
awaiting her fate, while the monster approaches through the waves. Perseus, her rescuer, .
moves quickly along through the skies on Pegasus. .
Andromeda stands firmly, full-length, and life-sized, looking up in anguish. .
Andromeda has a solid physical presence, which may also come from the fact that Van .
Dyck used his mistress Margaret Lemon for the model of this painting. The woman's .
lively eyes, detailed facial features, and fine modeling of flesh tones show the Van .
Dyck's concern for texture and pattern. His brush strokes vary to soften the background .
and rock and to enhance the physical quality of Andromeda's skin and drapery.