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Alien art

Appreciating Van Dyck is difficult

By John Armstrong   October 1999

Since the days of his own brilliant career, few have disputed the claim that the work of Anthony van Dyck is a touchstone of artistic excellence. The current exhibition at the Royal Academy celebrates the 400th anniversary of his birth and is testament to the high regard in which he continues to be held. But it will be interesting to see the reaction to Van Dyck in London because, despite his status as a prince of painters, he is difficult to enjoy. The most successful recent shows-Monet, Sargent, de Hooch, Vermeer-all allowed an easy point of entry for the non-specialist.…

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