Inventory number
P02180
Author
Dürer, Albrecht
Title
Portrait of an Unknown Man
Chronology
1521
Technique
Oil
Support
Panel
Dimensions
50 cm x 36 cm
School
German
Theme
Portrait
On display
Yes
Provenance
Royal Collection (New Royal Palace, Madrid, “paso de tribuna y trascuartos”, 1772, nº 32; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “primera pieza de la obra nueva”, 1794, nº 32; Royal Palace, Madrid, “cuarto del infante don Francisco-primera pieza o cuarto del mayordomo mayor”, 1814-1818, s.n.?)

The as-yet-unidentified sitter wears a large hat and his clothing is complemented by a large fur collar. He holds a roll of paper in his left hand. This is probably a Burgher or an important imperial employee whose importance and high social standing are perfectly captured by Dürer.

In a masterful psychological study, the painter brings out the facial features, emphasizing the severe wince of the lips and the concentrated gaze, which capture his authoritarian, distrustful character. The study of light, the way the bust is brought out over a neutral background, and the reduced space, multiply the sense of contained energy, making this one of Dürer's most intense portraits.

This work is first listed at Madrid's Alcázar Palace in 1666.

 
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