It seems extraordinary to consider the the artist was only in his mid-twenties when he produced this truly gifted piece. Whilst showing artistic talents from a very early age and also receiving tutorship from Peter Paul Rubens several years earlier than this painting was executed, it still seems incredible that Van Dyck could achieve so much, so early in his career.
Van Dyck was caught up in a frightening situation in Palermo, Sicily when a plague had struck and the entire area was in lockdown. As a frequent traveller and highly intelligent man, the artist kept calm and saw this as an opportunity to continue his work with fewer distractions.
It is believed that for this painting the artist made use of previous work on the theme of the Assumption of the Virgin. Artists of this period would frequently exchange ideas and sketched drawings around studios as a means to bringing in new ideas. Perhaps Van Dyck would see his previous work as an ideal basis from which to construct this composition.
This painting can now be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, USA. There are few galleries or museums in the world that can claim to be more popular than this institution whose collection combines European and American art from a wide variety of movements. The city of New York itself has amongst the finest groupings of art establishments in the world and was also a host for many famous artists during the 20th century.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a fine collection of Renaissance and Baroque art, featuring other famous names such as Jan van Eyck, Albrecht Durer, Giovanni Bellini, Andrea Mantegna and Pieter Bruegel. If you are looking to see a specific painting, always check ahead to ensure that it is on display as many major art galleries across the USA and Europe frequently loan their best work for the purposes of creating exhaustive exhibitions that tend to travel between several venues over an extended period.