Master’s piece on the side: ‘Van Dyck had secret affair with ...

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Master’s piece on the side: ‘Van Dyck had secret affair with Rubens’s wife’

The painting of Isabella Brant raises suspicions over motives of Flemish master’s apprentice, says academic

Jessica Carpani

For almost 400 years experts believed that a portrait of the wife of Peter Paul Rubens, painted by his apprentice Anthony van Dyck, was a gift of friendship. However, the reality, according to one Cambridge academic, is that it might indicate an act of betrayal between two of the world’s greatest Flemish Baroque artists.

Dr John Harvey believes the portrait could allude to an affair between the man Rubens sculpted into a great artist and Isabella, his own wife.

Van Dyck’s painting, Portrait of Isabella Brant, is believed to have been created in 1621, supposedly to honour Rubens. But Harvey has cast a new light on the nature of the artwork, claiming Van Dyck may have left clues of an adulterous romance between himself and Rubens’s wife...

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