Flemish painter and draughtsman, active also in Italy and England. He was the leading Flemish painter after Rubens in the first half of the 17th century and in the 18th century was often considered no less than his match. A number of van Dyck's studies in oil of characterful heads were included in Rubens's estate inventory in 1640, where they were distinguished neither in quality nor in purpose from those stocked by the older master. Although frustrated as a designer of tapestry and, with an almost solitary exception, as a deviser of palatial decoration, van Dyck succeeded brilliantly as an etcher. He was also skilled at organizing reproductive engravers in Antwerp to publish his works, in particular The Iconography (c. 1632-44), comprising scores of contemporary etched and engraved portraits, eventually numbering 100, by which election he revived the Renaissance tradition of promoting images of uomini illustri. His fame as a portrait painter in the cities of the southern Netherlands, as well as in London, Genoa, Rome and Palermo, has never been outshone; and from at least the early 18th century his full-length portraits were especially prized in Genoese, British and Flemish houses, where they were appreciated as much for their own sake as for the identities and families of the sitters.