Putting a Name to a Face: Van Dyck’s unidentified man identified

Published on 20.03.2018

The subject of Portrait of a man by the Flemish Baroque painter Sir Anthony van Dyck has been identified after extensive researches. Specialists of the Jordaens and Van Dyck Panel Painting Project (JVDPPP), which studies the panel paintings by Jacques Jordaens and Sir Anthony van Dyck, have discovered that the man in the portrait is Van Dyck’s colleague and friend Pieter Soutman.

It has previously  been misidentified as the Flemish painters Paul de Vos and Jan Boeckhorst. However Justin Davies, JVDPPP co-founder, found a clue in the inventory of Archduke Leopold-Wilhelm’s collection. It lists a portrait by Van Dyck called “the painter of the King of Poland called long Peter”. After some researches, Davies found that it was the title used by P. Soutman from 1624, when he became the painter of the King of Poland Sigismund III Vasa.

Van Dyck and Soutman worked together for the great Paul Rubens in Antwerp, before they became famous. And it is known that Soutman sold his portrait to the Archduke Leopold Wilhem in 1651.

This discovery will be the sole focus of the  exhibition in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, from 23th of March to 22th of July 2018.

Alongside with the publication of the catalogue of the Vienna exhibition, the JVDPPP launched its new open access website www.jordaensvandyck.org. It is an archival research on the key moments of the lives of both painters.

JVDPPP is a collaboration between the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and the University of Amsterdam. The four-year project is fully funded by Fonds Baillet Latour and began in 2016.