Jan Gossaert (c. 1478-1532 ), Portrait of a Man, 1453-1532
Nostrils flaring, lips tight, the man looks firmly ahead. His identity is unknown to us, but as a type he is timeless, and we recognise him as a strong and forceful personality for whom the end justifies the means.
The artist Gossaert
Jan Gossaert became a master of the St. Luke’s Guild of painters in Antwerp in 1503. Only a few years later his work would take him from one royal patron to the next throughout all of Europe. The circle of patrons included the Danish King Christian 2. (1481-1559), whose children Gossaert portrayed in a painting that was to be one of the first secular group portraits in art history (Hampton Court, London). The small princes and princesses greet us with gazes full of childish gravity, painted with the same keen sense of the individual personality that characterises the unknown man.
Gossaert's portraits with inner depth
Portraits with inner depth in the depictions of persons gained ground with the Italian Renaissance, a movement that Gossaert had ample opportunities to familiarise himself with and communicate to wider audiences north of the Alps. The style of painting, characterised by muted colours and an enamel-like varnish, places this portrait within Gossaert’s mature period.