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Lucas van Leyden, A Man aged 38

Key facts
Full title A Man aged 38
Artist Lucas van Leyden
Artist dates active 1508; died 1533
Date made about 1521
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 46.7 × 40.8 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by the children of Lewis Fry in his memory, through the Art Fund, 1921
Inventory number NG3604
Location Room 27
Collection Main Collection
A Man aged 38
Lucas van Leyden

An unknown man gazes past us into the distance. There is nothing to identify him beyond the scroll in his hand, which tells us his age: 38. His clothing is sombre – there is no conspicuous display of wealth and status – but it does suggest that he was a man of means.

The man’s costume and the style of the painting suggest it was done in around 1520. The painting isn't signed but resembles a group of portrait drawings made by Lucas van Leyden, two of which are dated 1521.

His intent gaze, firm jaw and determined mouth give an impression of a formidable character. This intensity and edginess is typical of van Leyden, and can also be found in other Netherlandish portraits.

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