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Bartholomeus van der Helst: 'Portrait of a Man in Black holding a Glove'

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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.

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