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Portrait of an unknown man, probably a Protestant minister

Portrait of an unknown man, probably a Protestant minister

Bartholomeus van der Helst (in 1638)

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A man dressed in dark clothes is seated behind a lectern on a decorated chair. He is depicted as if he has been disturbed while reading. With this device, Van der Helst tried to inject some life into the portrait of the unknown man. The portrait therefore seems - literally - to be painted from life. Such works should not, however, be considered as a snapshot; a long process of posing and arranging took place before the painting was started. The painting dating from 1683 is one of the earliest dated works by Van der Helst. Despite his young age, the 25-year-old man had attracted the interest of Amsterdam publishers. This type of portrait is very similar to the preacher portraits from the first half of the 1630s. Because of this and also because of the clothing and the open Bible on the lectern, it is probable that the person portrayed here is an as yet unidentified preacher.

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Specifications

Title Portrait of an unknown man, probably a Protestant minister
Material and technique Oil on canvas
Object type
Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Width 81 cm
Height 114.5 cm
Artists Schilder: Bartholomeus van der Helst
Accession number 1293 (OK)
Credits Aankoop / Purchase: 1866
Department Old Masters
Acquisition date 1866
Age artist About 25 years old
Material
Object
Geographical origin Northern Netherlands > The Netherlands > Western Europe > Europe

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All about the artist

Bartholomeus van der Helst

Haarlem 1613 - Amsterdam 1670

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