Van Dyck definitively left Antwerp in January 1632. Very cleverly he stopped at the court of The Hague to confirm his expertise by making portraits of the Prince of Orange and of his family. Relationships are close between Stuarts and Oranges. The agents of the King of England are around the corner and commission the artist to make an additional copy of his Orange portraits. The game is won : in April 1632 Van Dyck is triumphantly welcomed in London where he will remain until his death.
The stadhouder's heir is his son Willem who is almost six years old. The young boy is standing full length. He is richly dressed in a long gown in the golden orange color of the princely house of Orange, with lace collar and cuffs. The clothing is princely but the attitude is of any real child, lively and without any trace of childish complacency.
Several versions of this image exist but only two have autograph qualities. The oil on canvas 119 x 105 cm supplied to the stadhouder is kept in the Schloss Musigkau museum in Dessau. The other oil on canvas, 128 x 100 cm, is certainly the portrait of a young Dutch prince listed in the sale of the late King Charles's goods by the Commonwealth in 1652. It is estimated $ 2M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on February 1, lot 42.
The painting that comes at Sotheby's has recently been cleaned, revealing the qualities of an original. Pentimenti have been detected and two almost imperceptible but important details are better than in the Orange version : the curiosity expressed by the boy to an unidentified action out of field and the strength of his dog. From his stay in The Hague, Van Dyck already reserved the best of his art for the King of England.
Prince Willem was to marry in 1641 Princess Mary Henrietta, the eldest daughter of King Charles I. King William III of England was his posthumous son.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
SOLD for $ 2.4M including premium