MASSYS, Quentin
(b. 1465/66, Leuven, d. 1530, Antwerpen)

Old Man in Profile

c. 1517
Oil on wood, 63 x 43 cm
Private collection

This painting forms a diptych with The Ugly Duchess (National Gallery, London). It revives an old tradition in portraiture, one that was especially popular in Italy in the mid-fifteenth century. The bold modeling of the profile head is unusual, especially in the flaccid jowls and deep eye sockets, and the ungainly profile with misshapen nose and protruding lower lip is exaggerated. This portrait derives from an actual likeness, a posthumous portrait of Cosimo de' Medici, the wealthiest banker in Europe.