From the Print Cabinet's collection
The Print Cabinet has several drawings by Anthony Van Dyck, the famous 17th-century Antwerp painter. This drawing of Christ Carrying the Cross is a preparatory study for his painting of the same name that is kept in St Paul’s Church, Antwerp.
The Dominicans whose church this was had commissioned various artists to produce paintings portraying the Mysteries of the Rosary. Van Dyck’s Christ Carrying the Cross was the ninth painting in this series.
This drawing shows how much care the young Van Dyck took to prepare for this commission. Although the moment depicted is a static one, he nevertheless brings dynamism and movement to the composition. Van Dyck balances the figures facing each other, and uses diagonal and parallel lines. He also suggests motion through the posture and billowing clothing of the figures.
Drawing with pen in brown ink washed with brown and light grey watercolour, over an initial design with black chalk on yellowed white paper, slightly heightened with white bodycolour. Divided into squared grid. Mounted.