This eminent Flemish painter was born at Antwerp in 1599. His father early gave him instruction in drawing; he was also instructed by his mother, who painted landscapes, and was very skillful in embroidery. He studied afterwards under Henry van Balen, and made rapid progress in the art; but attracted by the fame of Rubens, he entered the school of that master, and showed so much ability as to be soon entrusted with the execution of some of his instructor's designs. Some writers, among whom D'Argenville was the first, assert that Rubens became jealous of Vandyck's growing excellence, and therefore advised him to devote himself to portrait painting; assigning the following anecdote as the cause of his jealousy. During the short absences of Rubens from his house, for the purpose of recreation, his disciples frequently obtained access to his studio, by means of bribing an old servant who kept the keys; and on one of these occasions, while they were all eagerly pressing forward to view the great picture of the Descent from the Cross (although later investigations concerning dates seem to indicate that it was some other picture), Diepenbeck accidentally fell against the canvas, effacing the face of the Virgin, and the Magdalen's arm, which had just been finished, and were not yet dry. Fearful of expulsion from the school, the terrified pupils chose Vandyck to restore the work, and he completed it the same day with such success that Rubens did not at first perceive the change, and afterwards concluded not to alter it. Walpole entertains a different and more rational view respecting Rubens' supposed jealousy: he thinks that Vandyck felt the hopelessness of surpassing his master in historical painting, and therefore resolved to devote himself to portrait. One authority states that the above mentioned incident only increased Rubens' esteem for his pupil, in perfect accordance with the distinguished character for generosity and liberality, which that great master so often evinced, and which forms very strong presumptive evidence against so base an accusation. Besides, his advice to Vandyck to visit Italy—where his own powers had been, as his pupil's would be, greatly strengthened—may be considered as sufficient to refute it entirely. They appear to have parted on the best terms; Vandyck presented Rubens with an Ecce Homo, Christ in the Garden, and a portrait of Helen Forman, Rubens' second wife; he was presented in return, by Rubens, with one of his finest horses.