mastercopy of a soldier on a horseback (1616) after Anthony van Dyck by Andre Romijn of KUNSTHUIS Andre Middelburg. The original painting has been stolen in 2020 from Christ Church Picture Gallery in Oxford.

The oil painting by André Romijn, a master copy after Anthony van Dyck’s portrayal of a soldier on horseback, serves as a compelling homage to the Old Master. Van Dyck, known for his grand and eloquent portraiture, provides fertile ground for study, and Romijn rises to the occasion with a work that captures the essence of the 17th-century original, which tragically was reported stolen in 2020 from the Christ Church Picture Gallery in Oxford.

Versatility and skill

In this master copy, Romijn demonstrates a disciplined adherence to Van Dyck’s style, replicating not only the composition but also the dynamic movement and energy that is characteristic of the Flemish artist’s equestrian portraits. The warm, earth-toned palette employed here evokes the era of the original work, while the brushwork — broad in some areas, detailed in others — showcases Romijn’s versatility and skill in translating Van Dyck’s techniques to his own canvas.

One can observe the deliberate strokes that define the musculature of the horse and the drapery of the rider’s clothing, giving weight and texture to the subjects. The contrasting elements of light and shadow are skillfully replicated, contributing to the three-dimensional illusion of form and space. The background, rendered with less detail, allows the viewer’s focus to remain on the central figure of the soldier and his steed, true to the baroque style of prioritizing dramatic focal points.

The techniques and visual language of Van Dyck

It is worth noting the challenge and value of creating master copies like this one. Not only do they pay respect to the work of great historical artists, but they also serve as an intensive study for contemporary artists like Romijn to deepen their craft. By exploring the techniques and visual language of Van Dyck, Romijn enters into a dialogue with the past, bringing a piece of art history to the present and keeping the legacy of the original work alive in the wake of its disappearance.

Romijn’s master copy stands not just as a skillful reproduction, but as an individual interpretation, a work that reverberates with the spirit of Van Dyck’s artistry and maintains its own unique presence. For admirers of historical art and the baroque era, this painting offers a poignant connection to a lost treasure and a testament to the enduring influence of Anthony van Dyck’s masterful compositions.


This painting will be on show during the Lecture ‘Portraits of Power and Grace: The Artistic Journey of Sir Anthony van Dyck‘ presented by André Romijn.