Bathed in a bright spotlight, a man stands alone in front of a fairly plain background. His clothes – he is wearing boots with spurs, a short cape and a wide brimmed hat with an ostrich feather – suggest that he is a soldier.
Quast made a number of small full-length portraits of sitters in similar poses to the one depicted here. However, it is not known whether this painting is a portrait or a generic image of an anonymous soldier that can be related to the popular guardroom scenes of the time.
This image was painted over part of another painting: we can see the ghostly shapes of a figure on horseback, moving from right to left, accompanied by another figure walking next to the horse. Quast, who also painted history subjects, probably reused and cut down a panel that was in his studio.
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