DYCK, Anthony van (1599-1641). Icones Principum Virorum Doctorum, Pictorum Chalcographorum Statuariorum nec non Amatorum Pictoriae Artis numero centum. Antwerp: Gillis Hendricx, 1645.
2o (389 x 277 mm). Engraved title incorporating an etched self-portrait and 100 etched or engraved plates. 18th-century sprinkled calf gilt, smooth spine with red morocco lettering-piece (bottom of front joint split, some light rubbing). (Some pale dampstaining in lower margins of approximately ten plates.) Provenance: acquired from Marlborough Rare Books, 1970.
A fine, tall copy of this important work in the history of portraiture. Mixed states, with 14 of the plates having the address of Marinus van den Enden, fifty-two with the letters G.H. and of the remainder (which are unsigned) five certainly and two probably are in the intermediate state before the letters G.H. Of the fifteen plates now ascribed to Van Dyck himself, twelve are present in this copy, with the other three have been re-engraved, as is the case with the Hendricx issue.
"Sir Anthony Van Dyck stands out as the solitary great etcher of the school. Portrait etching had scarcely had an existence before his time, and in his work it suddenly appears at the highest point ever reached in the art" (Hind, p. 165). "The plan of this publication took shape after Van Dyck returned from Italy (1626) and before he went to England (1632). He made careful preparatory drawings in chalk and brush for the publication. He directed and revised the work of the engravers, the best of the Rubens circle; he collaborated with his etching needle in some of the plates and himself etched the most beautiful set, mainly portraits of artists. One of the most brilliant in human characterization is the portrait of Peter Brueghel the Younger, son of the great Peasant Brueghel. It is remarkable that the etching appeared in this sketchy form in the book, proving that the master regarded it as finished. All interest is focussed on the wonderful had. The first edition was published in Antwerp in 1635-1636. Yet it was not complete, and the title-page did not appear before the Gillis Hendricx edition of 1645, engraved by Jacob Neels" (Benesch, Artistic and Intellectual Trends, p. 32.) Hofer, Baroque Book Illustrations 132.