As a young artist, Van dyck spent six years in Italy, from 1621 to 1627. He ws based in the rich port of Genoa, where he painted sumptuous portraits of the local nobility. This is Van Dyck’s grandest and most ambitious portrait of the period, painted for the Lomellini family. Giacomo Lomellini was Doge of Genoa (head of the city’s government) from 1625-27. He does not appear here, because portraits of the doge in office were forbidden to prevent personal promotion. Giacomo’s two eldest sons are shown standing next to his second wife and their two children. It is a magnificent image of family pride and prestige and anticipates Van Dyck’s royal family portraits for Charles I.