The Self-Portrait with a Sunflower looks to be the most significant image of himself painted by Van Dyck during his residence at the English court from 1632 until his death in 1641. That meaning may be implied in the association of the chain, an initially realistic motif, with the realistically rendered but evidently symbolic image of the sunflower, which in turn is paired with the figure of the artist. Van Veen had been the teacher of Rubens, and his emblems, while addressed to a cosmopolitan audience, were published in Antwerp, Van Dyck's native city. The French translation, Pieux Desirs, published in Antwerp in 1627, elaborates the allegory and stresses its visual dimension: Clytie is described as 'fixing her eye on the face of the sun'. Hugo was a Jesuit, and as a member of a Jesuit sodality in Antwerp Van Dyck must have been familiar with these new devotional emblematics.