(b. 1593, Antwerpen, d. 1678, Antwerpen)

Portrait of Rogier Le Witer

Oil on canvas, 152 x 118 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Jacob Jordaens's portraits - however high their quality - can only take a subsidiary place in the totality of his production. From the 1620s his portraits show a gradual evolution towards more liveliness and depth. From the mid-1630s he became prominent as a portrait painter, with a style analogous to that of the later Rubens and Van Dyck.

As Grand Almoner of Antwerp, the merchant Le Witer was responsible for collecting charitable gifts. On the corner of the table is an object referring to this function, an offering plate with the inscription '[A]lemos[e] 1623', the year in which Le Witer took up this office. The small, fettered figurine indicates that the alms were intended for prisoners.