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Sir Anthony van Dyck was a Flemish Baroque painter who became one of England's most influential court painters. Although most of his work was executed in the Southern Netherlands, he also achieved great success in Italy and France. 

Van Dyck was born into a wealthy mercantile family in Antwerp and qualified as a master under Hendrick van Balen in 1618. He also spent a few years working in Peter Paul Rubens's workshop. In 1621, he traveled to Italy and was able to become acquainted with the thriving Italian art community. While in Italy, he studied the works of Titian and became a well-known painter throughout Europe.

A few years after his first visit to Italy, Van Dyck returned to Flanders. After spending time in Genoa and gaining an acquaintance with Italian Baroque artists, he returned to Antwerp, where he continued to paint portraits of royalty and aristocratic figures. In 1630, he was invited to be court painter to the Archduchess Isabella Clara Eugenia. By 1625, he had been appointed court painter to Charles I of England and spent a good part of the rest of his life in Antwerp.

After Rubens, Van Dyck's fame spread around Europe. He became the most influential court painter in England and was recognized internationally. During this period, he began to socialize with the aristocracy and royalty in Europe. His work helped to define the meaning of elegance and sophistication and helped to establish a new era in English portraiture. Once he died, his tomb was destroyed in the Great Fire of London.

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