Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a Gentleman, 1609 

 Anglo-Flemish School 

Portrait of a Gentleman, 1609,  Anglo-Flemish School
Oil and Canvas
17th Century
Christie's London, April 28, 1972, lot 149, bt. Krugman for 480 gns. (as by Frans Pourbus the Younger); Dr. Luba K. Gurdus; By whom sold, New York, Sotheby Parke-Bernet, Inc., January 20, 1980, lot 23 (as by Frans Pourbus the Younger); American Private Collection.
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This captivating portrait was painted in 1609, almost certainly in England. The artist may have been one of the numerous Flemish painters whom the English relied on at this period. The infusion of character in the sitter’s genial face anticipates the growing confidence of early seventeenth-century painters to impart increased vitality and expression in their portraits. Until then, portraiture had usually been concerned with presenting a sitter’s wealth or rank, as discerned by their luxurious clothing or heraldic orders. But by the early seventeenth century, the rising numbers of talented artists meant that portrait commissions were increasingly accessible to the growing merchant classes, and, as in the present picture, those artists often chose not to focus only on lavish costumes, but on the expression and characterisation of the sitters.
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