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German, South, Portrait of a Man

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Man
Artist German, South
Date made about 1530-40
Medium and support Oil on beech
Dimensions 49.9 × 39.1 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1887
Inventory number NG1232
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of a Man
German, South

This portrait was made to hang with one of a woman by the same artist (Oscar Reinhart Collection, Winterthur), possibly to commemorate the couple’s engagement or marriage. This seems likely as both are shown with flowers associated with marriage: the carnation or pink held by the man was part of a northern European wedding ritual, in which the bride had to hide a pink within her clothing for the groom to find. The woman holds a posy of lily of the valley, which were associated with both marriage and the Virgin Mary.

Like his bride, the man is shown in half-length against a deep blue background; like her, he has bright fair hair and corkscrew curls. His large collar is folded over to reveal its fur lining. The gold detail on his white chemise and the bands of his large rings is matt gilding made from real gold.

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