CLEVE, Joos van
(b. ca. 1485, Antwerpen, d. 1540, Antwerpen)

Self-Portrait

c. 1519
Oil on panel, 38 x 27 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

This Self-Portrait falls in line with the artist's native tradition - as practised with supreme mastery by his Flemish contemporaries. The realism which characterized portraiture in the Netherlands is obvious here in a work of great seriousness, which captures not just the artist's appearance but also his character. Notable are the expressive hands outlined against his austere black clothing. Finely drawn and modelled in a soft chiaroscuro, they give the portrait movement and naturalness, contrasting with the serious and static character of the face.