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
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).