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ID number:  BIRBI-46.6
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Attributed to Joos van Cleve (about 1485/90 – 1540/41)
Title / Object name:  Portrait of a Man
Object type:  Painting
Place made:  Probably Antwerp
Culture:  German
Date made:  1530s
Materials:  Oil on wood, hardwood oak
Measurements:  59.8 x 50.2 cm
Provenance:  Count Moltke of Copenhagen, eighteenth century, before 1780 and possibly before 1756; Count F. C. Moltke; Winkel and Magnussen Copenhagen, 1/2-6-1931, no.131; later acquired by F. Sabin, London; F. A. Drey; purchased 1946 for £1,500.

The identity of this man has been lost, though he could have been a scholar - the ring on his right hand is set with what may be a classical intaglio gem. The portrait probably originally formed a pair, with an image of his wife to the right. The man holds a sprig of flowers comprising field gentian, box, rosemary and possibly wild pansy. These can symbolise integrity, consistency, love, and thoughtfulness, respectively, appropriate for a marriage portrait. Similarly, while the ‘fig’ gesture (mano fica) he makes with his left hand had many possible meanings, these included ‘wishing good luck and fertility’.

Inscriptions / Translations:  Inscriptions, sale stamps & c.:Inscribed lower right: 130

Notes:  Exhibited: 'German Art', Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester, 1961 (no. 104).

1 Related People

Amberger, Christoph
c. 1500

5 Related Publications

Apollo Annual
Young, A. McL.

The Pantheon
Mayer, Augustus. L.

Fortegnelse over den Moltkeske Malerisamling
Madsen, K.

Fortegnelse over den Moltkeske Malerisamling
Hoyen, N. L.

German Art
Manchester City Art Gallery

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