The sketch found in this page was completed in black chalk and is considered one of Van Dyck's finest portrait drawings. It can now be found in the John Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, USA. It's dimensions are typical of many of his chalk drawings, using a uniform size that suggests he used a small pad which could be carried around from location to location.
Anthony van Dyck combined different lengths of chalk strokes in this piece in order to handle detail differently. The less important areas of the subject's clothing would be covered with long, unfocused lines. His face, however, would receive considerably more attention and as a result the strokes would be small and many.
The artist captures the lighting beautifully in this drawing, with enough time spent on it to suggest it was more than just a study drawing for a later painting. The subject's face is impacted by age and these imperfections draw in the light as the subject looks thoughtful and calm, if not overly friendly.
Hendrik van Balen was a successful painter whose career was overshadowed by Peter Paul Rubens and that of Van Dyck, who captures him so beautifully here. It is believed that this drawing was an early preparation for an engraving, with that being completed eventually by Paulus Pontius. This artistic period was full of examples of crossover between artists where one would complete a study sketch for another's work in an alternative medium.
Van Balen was a highly intelligent man, able to speak perhaps as many as six languages in all. He also collected art himself, including multiple antique sculptures. Although his life and achievements were overshadowed by others, there has been sufficient research into his work to ensure his own legacy remains stronger than just being a subject for portraits of others.