• Flanders, ca. 1620-1621
  • Oil on canvas
  • Inv. 168
  • Painting

Portrait of a Man

Anton van Dyck

Flanders, ca. 1620-1621

Although several attempts have been made to resolve the controversy surrounding the identity of the figure in this portrait, but until now without sucess. A 1923 sales catalogue gives the work the title of Portrait of Anton Triest, who is mentioned as being the Burgomaster of Ghent and is also referred to as Nicolas in old documents, a hypothesis that is not supported by the majority of experts. The absence of a sword seems to suggest that the sitter in question is a member of the bourgeoisie.

Controversy also surrounds the dating of the work, one line of thought sustaining that it may have been painted in Flanders sometime before 1621. This has been contested by some authors, however, who have proposed a later date corresponding to the time when Van Dyck was in Italy. The portrait displays the same technical maturity as other works by the artist that depict members of the Genoese aristocracy. However, the ‘Spanish’ chair, made with leather and nailwork, is a recurring element in Van Dyck’s firstAntwerp period, as can be seen in Portrait of Frans Snyders (The Frick Collection, New York), a work painted around 1620 whose approach to the subject and treatment of the landscape is identical.

Provenance

J. B. P. Lebrun, Paris; François-Antoine Robit Collection Sale, Paris, 11th May 1801, no. 33; Bryan; Wilbraham Sale, London, 26th May 1810, no. 70; Sir Abraham Hume; Viscount Alford, Adelbert Wellington, 3rd Earl Brownlow, Ashridge, Berkhamsted. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through Duveen, Christie’s, London, 4th-7th May 1923, no. 96.

H. 142 cm; W. 112 cm

Washington 1950

European Paintings from the Gulbenkian Collection (exhibition catalogue). Washington D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1950, no. 10, pl., p. 30-31.

Barnes et al. 2004

Susan J. Barnes – Van Dyck, A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings. New Haven / London: Yale University Press, 2004, no. 140, pl., p. 124-25.

Paris 2008

Antoon Van Dick, Portraits, (exhibition catalogue). Paris : Musée Jacquemart-André, 2008, no. 6, p. 56-57, 162.

Sampaio 2009

Luísa Sampaio – Painting in the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection. Milan: Skira; Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2009, no. 13, pl., p. 44-45.

Museu Calouste Gulbenkian 2011

Museu Calouste Gulbenkian. Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 2011, no. 90, pl., p. 116.