de jonckheere old masters

Master of the portrait of Andreas Hertwig

Head-and-shoulders portrait of a twenty-five year old man, dressed in a black coat and a hat

Panel: 70 x 50,8 cm
Dated and annotated top left: « M.D.XLIII.DE.XX.NOVEMB[R]E/.AETATIS.XXV »


Anchored in the repertoire of forms established by the German School, though also original in terms of the inscription on the top left of the painting, this portrait of a young man belongs to the great tradition of mid-16th century portrait painting. The great quality of its execution is a unique example of the exceptional talent of the Master of the portrait of Andreas Hertwig.

Formerly associated with a master from the entourage of Bartholomeus Bruyn, our portrait of a young man has links with a portrait kept in the collections of the Nuremberg Museum. The person in the painting has been identified as Andreas Hertwig (1511-1575), advisor to Ferdinand I. We can confidently draw a parallel with our panel of the advisor thanks to the inscription at the top of both paintings, which serves as a reference for the attribution of this master’s works.

Dated 20th November 1543, this portrait is the production of the 16th century Silesian School. The young, 25-year old man is shown wearing a rich garment made of black fur and velvet. Firmly set against a most elegant green background, this magnificent portrait undoubtedly belongs to the German School, still strongly influenced by the style of Lucas Cranach. The artist uses the relevant codes: the use of a neutral background, a closely cropped head and shoulders view, emphasis on a both peaceful and secret facial expression. The subject’s gaze – a mirror of the soul according to the followers of Erasmus – is highlighted here by a natural and uniform light, directed in such a way as to outline the face’s contours. The heavy mantle worn by the young man is painted in a remarkable way: the most subtle nuances make the black of the velvet and that of the rich fur vibrate. The small matching bonnet completes the outfit. The hands – with two rings adorning the left-hand index finger – reinforce the contrast between the dark and light colours that punctuate the entire portrait.
Benefiting from a remarkable state of conservation, this wonderfully-sized portrait is sure to delight the most well-informed lovers of the genre.

Provenance :
Baron Farnham, Farnham, Cavan, Northern Ireland;
Private collection, Italy.

Littérature :
C.L. Kuhn, A catalogue of German Paintings of the Middle Ages and Renaissance in American collections, Cambridge, 1936, p. 71, no. 306, pl. LXI, as 'Hans Mielich';
M. J. Friedländer and J. Rosenberg, The Paintings of Lucas Cranach, Berlin, 1932, p. 91, no. 334.b, as 'Perhaps by Lucas Cranach the Younger;
M. J. Friedländer and J. Rosenberg, The Paintings of Lucas Cranach, Ithaca, 1978, p. 153, no. 415A, as 'Perhaps by Lucas Cranach the Younger;
K. Löcher, Hans Mielich, Munich, 2002, p. 242, no. 58, pl. 100.

Expositions :
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, European Paintings by Old and Modern Masters, 13 June-5 August 1934, no. 20, as 'Hans Mielich';
Flint, Michigan Institute of Arts, Exhibition of Paintings by Old Masters, 15 September-7 October 1945, no. 5, as 'Hans Mielich';
Caracas, Museo de Bellas Artes, Galeria Wildenstein: Exposición de pinturas y dibujos, November-December 1959, no. 1, as 'Lucas Cranach the Elder'.