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

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Man in Black holding a Glove
Artist Bartholomeus van der Helst
Artist dates 1613 - 1670
Date made 1641
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 113.5 × 80.2 cm
Inscription summary Dated
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Sir Edward Stern, 1933; entered the Collection 1946
Inventory number NG4691
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of a Man in Black holding a Glove
Bartholomeus van der Helst

The young man in this portrait leans on a stone ornament, confident and at his ease. Dressed fashionably in black, with large amounts of expensive lace on show, he has a falling collar – a relatively new trend in Holland – and a multitude of tiny buttons down the front of his coat. The black satin gleams, and the coat sleeve is slashed to display the fine silk and lace cuff of his shirt.

Bartholomeus van der Helst was considered one of the leading portrait painters in Amsterdam, becoming very successful and, after a while, overtaking Rembrandt in popularity. As Rembrandt’s style became looser – and rougher and more unfinished in the eyes of the time – van der Helst developed a much smoother, perhaps more classical, way of painting, with brushstrokes less visible.

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