UNKNOWN MASTER, Flemish
(active 1480s in Bruges)
Portrait of a Young Man at Prayer1480s
Oil on oak panel, 30,5 x 21,5 cm
San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego
The young man is placed against a plain red background. Clothing and Italian hairstyle are related to some of Memling's portraits of the 1480s. The hands, too, which only stick out over the frame with the tops of the fingers, are inspired by Memling.
Formerly it was considered to be an early Memling, but today the portrait is no longer accepted as an autograph work. The disproportion between head and body and the lack of fine detail suggest a minor master. In the stiff tubular fingers and heavy thumb there is a hint of the manner of the Lucy Master. Moreover, the powerful features and the rough, somewhat vulgar expression with widely separated eyes also seem to fit this master's typology.