One of van Dyck’s most ambitious projects was his
Watermark: none visible through lining.
This drawing is preparatory for an engraving by Paulus Pontius for van Dyck's Iconography, a collection of portraits after drawings by the artist, first published between 1636 and 1641. Jacques Dubroeucq (1500/10-1584) was a sculptor and architect from Mons (in present-day Belgium). The downward-pointing compass he holds is the attribute of a practicing architect; a raised compass refers to the theoretical aspects of architecture. This sheet is preparatory for the engraving by Paulus Pontius included in what is known as van Dyck's "Iconography," a book of portraits of individuals of note that was published between 1639 and 1641. The tonal modulation of washes is typical of this type of finished drawing intended for engraving.