Portrait of a Man in Black holding a Glove

With one arm on the back of a chair and the other arm akimbo, the unknown sitter's pose evokes an impression of both confidence and ease. The artist, inspired by the Flemish tradition, has placed the sitter in front of a wall hung with drapery, with a view of the natural world. The glove is traditionally interpreted as an attribute of authority or social standing. Thus the removal of the glove can be seen as a symbol for the surrender of authority or as a sign of love and friendship.

Van der Helst had a number of assistants even at this early stage of his career and this portrait may include studio participation.

Key facts

Artist dates
1613 - 1670
Full title
Portrait of a Man in Black holding a Glove
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
113.5 x 80.2 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Bequeathed by Sir Edward Stern, 1933; entered the Collection 1946
Inventory number
Location in Gallery