17th Century
Portrait of a Nobleman in Armour

Oil on canvas
Image size: 30 x 35 inches (76.25 x 89 cm)
Carved gilt frame


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A half-length portrait of a man turned slightly to the left, gazing at the spectator, standing, wearing studded armour. He has a long dark brown wig, and a lace cravat. In the background to the left of the sitter is a glimpse of a cloudy sky whilst the nobleman emerges from a dark background.

In terms of composition, this picture is clearly directly inspired by the head and shoulder portraits by Van Dyck. However, the identity of the subject painted here has been lost over time as is often the case with portraits of this date.

The way that the light is employed, brilliantly illuminates selective portions of the figure and amour while arbitrarily obscuring other parts in dark shadow. With the deft handling of the paint it is clear that the painting has been executed by an artist of great ability. The artist’s treatment of the armour is exemplary as is the intricate detail on the lace collar. Achieving this level of realism requires skill, experience and finesse.