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30 of 656 paintings
The format of this portrait – the three-quarter bust-length view, the inclusion of the hands and the plain background are typical of German portraiture of the sixteenth-century. But the painting is in poor condition and has been overpainted extensively. The identities of the sitter and artist a...
Not on display
Although damaged, we can tell that this is an original work by Anthonis Mor. His sitters are usually lit from above and the left; their noses are narrow but have deep shadows and the eyes are too widely spaced. We don't know the identity of the sitter, but the cut of his hair, and the long beard...
Not on display
There is a swagger, even an arrogance, in the bearing of this man who meets our eye so directly and seems so at ease with himself. This is a self portrait, and going by what his contemporaries said about the artist – Jan Lievens – we shouldn’t be surprised at his self-confident air. An English am...
The composition derives from a print of 1624 by Paulus Pontius, made after a portrait of the same date by Rubens of Prince Vladislav Sigismond, later King of Poland. We can tell that the artist has used the print as a source because some of the details – as on the hilt of the sword – are slightly...
Not on display
A richly dressed lady gazes out at us from this painting. We don't know who she is but the jewellery and fabrics she wears could only have been afforded by the exceptionally wealthy. The extravagance of her dress is comparable with that worn by royalty.She was perhaps unmarried: she faces right,...
Murillo has painted himself inside a fictive frame, his right hand emerging from the stone surround as if he were coming alive and entering our space.This self portrait was probably painted in about 1670, when Murillo was in his early fifties – his hairline is receding and his moustache turning g...
This is the earliest surviving example of a life-size, full-length portrait on canvas or panel painted in Italy. We are not certain of the sitter’s identity, but he may be Gerolamo II Avogadro of Brescia (who died in 1534). He was the father of Conte Faustino Avogadro, who is shown in a portrait...
We do not know the identity of this lady. The downturned corners of her mouth give her a somewhat mournful expression. The painted framing at the top of the picture is similar to examples seen in Northern European portraits, suggesting that it might be by a German or Netherlandish artist who was...
Not on display
The boy regarding us stands in a relaxed confident manner, with one hand on his hip and the other holding the hilt of his sword. The vertical glossy gold stripes of the curtain effectively frame his elegant pose. The costume suggests a date in the mid-1540s and is plainly that of a wealthy family...
Not on display
This unidentified man is standing beside a virginal, which was a very popular household keyboard instrument in sixteenth-century Italy. He is shown half-length holding a pair of steel dividers – used to take measurements – which echo the splayed pose of his fingers against his black costume.The p...
This picture looks like an Italian Renaissance portrait but is in fact a forgery made in the early twentieth century. It includes elements found in the originals, such as the stone window opening onto a view of the Italian countryside and the view of figures in profile.It was purchased in 1923 as...
Not on display
This half-length portrait is on paper later attached to an oak panel. A young man wearing a slight, almost boyish moustache looks towards the viewer, his determined expression emphasised by his pose, with his right hand raised to his chest and his left resting on his hip. He is dressed in a black...
Not on display
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...
We don’t know who the sitter in this almost postcard-sized portrait is. Although he wears the grey habit of a Franciscan, his hair is not tonsured – shaved on top as a sign of humility – as was customary for them. The precise identity of the artist is also uncertain, although he seems to have bee...
Although we don't know the identity of this woman, her clothing and the objects around her suggest that she was painted in around 1500 and most probably came from Cologne. The portrait was almost certainly part of a diptych (a painting made of two panels), which could have been hinged at the cent...
This middle-aged man regards us with a serious and thoughtful gaze. Greuze took great care painting his face, using a series of glazes to capture his slightly droopy eyes, barely parted lips, pink cheeks and light grey stubble. His blue velvet jacket is decorated with a gold trim and gold-coloure...
Not on display
This small picture could be the ruined remains of a competently painted portrait – it’s in poor condition, but the near eye has a complex catchlight consisting of at least three brushstrokes. The surface is badly rubbed, much repainted and obscured by dirt and discoloured varnishes. Thin brown ov...
Not on display
We don't know the identity of this girl, but she surely belonged to an important dynasty. Her large, rounded cheeks suggest that she is still quite young, but nonetheless she’s dressed in a stiff formal outfit: a ruffled collar peeks out from beneath a high-necked net bodice woven in alternating...
Michiel Jansz. van Miereveld was one of the most successful portrait painters of the early decades of the seventeenth century. He was a favourite at the Dutch court, and his profile was such that Charles I tried – unsuccessfully – to tempt him to come to London.This portrait, which is (now very f...
Not on display
The identity of this brown-eyed woman who sits for what may be an engagement or marriage portrait remains a mystery. She is probably aristocratic and is clearly wealthy – the many pearls strung around her neck and over her shoulders, and the two large tear-drop pearls of her earrings, are showily...
Not on display
An unidentified young man looks out at us with a direct gaze. Painted by an unknown artist, he is shown leaning against a stone archway covered with a swathe of white satin curtain. His expensive lace collar and cuffs are well displayed. His youth is emphasised by his sparse moustache and wisp of...
Not on display
An ageing man looks affably out at us, a hint of a smile on his lips. The cassock, collar and skull cap he wears indicate that he is a priest, though his identity is unknown. He is shown standing, in three-quarter length, his head and left hand starkly lit against a plain background. The portrait...
Not on display
We don't know who the young woman in this small portrait was, but her jewellery and clothes, which are in the fashion of around 1560, are not enormously rich: she was probably not a lady of the court.A rather similar but even smaller portrait of a similarly dressed lady is in the collection of th...
Not on display
We do not know the identity of this elegant young lady. Her clothes are not especially extravagant and she was perhaps a gentlewoman rather than an aristocrat.The painting is a good example of Rogier van der Weyden’s style of portraiture. A similar, slightly smaller portrait in Washington (Nation...
This small painting shows how Antonello revolutionised Venetian portraiture in the late fifteenth century: the three-quarter pose, dark background and strong lighting are all innovations from Northern Europe which focus attention entirely on the man’s face.Antonello’s skill at painting in oil ena...
We do not know this young woman’s identity. She wears an elaborate black velvet gown, the bodice of which is decorated with embroidery in white and gold thread and rows of vertical slashes through which the white fabric of her chemise can be seen. She stands before a green silk curtain and a tabl...
Not on display
Catharina van Hemessen is the earliest female Flemish painter for whom verifiable work survives – we can see her name here in a Latin inscription in the top right corner. We don't know who the sitter was, but she was evidently wealthy. Her shirt, visible at her neck and wrists, is ornamented with...
The unknown sitter has been described as a Florentine nobleman, but his deep red gown with the wide, plain falling collar and wide lace cuffs suggest that he may have had a position in the government of Genoa, where Sustermans was working in 1649. His gaze is firm and serious, his moustache impre...
Not on display
A young man looks out at the viewer with a piercing gaze and provocative expression. With an elegant hand gesture he points towards his chest, alluding to the fact this image is in fact a self portrait. His lips are parted, as if he is about to introduce himself – this is the Flemish painter Anth...
Not on display
We don‘t know the identity of this woman dressed in sumptuous fabrics and heavy gold jewellery, but her clothing is like that worn by the elite of society and ladies of the Saxon court. Her outfit is, in parts, physically impossible: the rings she wears under her gloves are higher up her fingers...
Not on display
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