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"A Perfect Model”

Georgia Museum of Art

Museum curators aren’t always attracted to things that are new and shiny. In fact, they often enjoy digging through their institutions’ collections to find things that haven’t been shown for some time, then creating an exhibition that highlights those works and lets them find new audiences. The Georgia Museum of Art has several dozen prints that different artists created after works by Anthony Van Dyck, acquired between nineteen sixty-four and two thousand four. From June 8 to December 1, you’ll be able to see a selection of them together in the exhibition “A Perfect Model.”

Van Dyck, who lived and worked in the seventeenth century, was born in Antwerp, in what was then the Spanish Netherlands. He went on to become one of the most successful artists of his generation, admired for his evocative portraits. He made the nobles who posed for his paintings look relaxed and elegant, and his images still feel intimate and immediate. He also designed a series of prints known as the Iconography that portrayed famous scholars, military men, nobles and artists. Before Van Dyck, artists rarely showed other artists in this elevated manner, and prints usually featured landscapes or religious scenes.

His contemporaries widely copied his work, with later artists making their own versions after his originals because of their popularity. Over the centuries, the original portraits were often altered and reprinted, almost like a game of telephone. This exhibition presents prints that show Van Dyck’s lasting impact as printmaker and portraitist and talk to us from centuries ago.