ANTONELLO da Messina
(b. ca. 1430, Messina, d 1479, Messina)
Portrait of a Man1474
Oil on wood, 32 x 26 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin
The painting is one of the portraits which were famed for their realism. Due to his knowledge of Flemish pictures, the painter had made a decisive contribution to the spreading and perfection in Italy of what was at that time the new medium of oil painting, and normally depicted figures in three quarter life-size as statue-like half-length portraits in front of a barrier. As in this portrait, the face is particularly emphasized by the dark background and simple headgear, with the eyes directed straight at the observer.