Peeter Symons

about 1630–32
Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, 1599–1641)


114.6 x 95 cm (45 1/8 x 37 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

On View

Leo and Phyllis Beranek Gallery (Gallery 243)





The portrait of Peeter Symons was painted after Van Dyck’s return to his native Antwerp in 1627, following his extended stay in Italy. While working on this painting, Van Dyck made changes to the composition—notice the silhouette of an outstretched arm to the sitter’s right. This pentimento indicates that the portrait is by Van Dyck, rather than a copy or version by an artist in his studio. The identity of the sitter is known from a late 17th‑century engraving published by Jacobus de Man, inscribed Petrus Symen pictor Antverpiensis, or “Peter Symons, painter from Antwerp.” Symons entered the Antwerp painter’s guild as a master in 1629–30.


Possibly about 1813/1815, acquired by Frederik Willem, Count of Limburg-Stirum (b. 1774 - d. 1858), Deventer and the Hague, the Netherlands [see note 1]; by descent to his granddaughter, Anna von Köckritz (born Countess of Limburg-Stirum) (b. 1839 - d. 1916), Wohlau, Poland and Berlin; 1890, sold by Anna von Köckritz to Francis Bartlett (b. 1836 - d. 1913), Boston; probably by descent to an anonymous donor, Boston; 1939, anonymous gift to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 11, 1939)

[1] When Anna von Köckritz sold the painting to Francis Bartlett in 1890, she attested that it had been in her family for about seventy or eighty years. It belonged to her grandfather, who she believed had bought the picture around 1813-1815.

Credit Line

Anonymous gift in memory of Francis Bartlett