(b. ca. 1440, Seligenstadt, d. 1494, Bruges)

Portrait of a Man

Oil on oak panel, 31,8 x 27,1 cm
Royal Collection, Windsor

The portrait is set against a dark blue-green ground. The background colour might originally have been brighter, as in the Portrait of a man with an arrow in Washington, with which this work can also be best compared in terms of style, conception and format. His half-open jacket has a knotted cord at the collar, in which gold thread is interwoven. It is finished by two flat, gold ends decorated with pearls. The tips of his forefinger and middle finger are pushed beneath the left jacket lapel, level with the cord. One can wonder whether the cord might have had some kind of allusive meaning. The unusual gesture, in which the fingers press its ends as if it were an attribute, is, indeed, unique in Memling's body of portraits. The fact that the man is facing to the left and is not shown in prayer, indicates that the portrait is autonomous.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.