With a hint of stubble on his chin, this man had his portrait painted with a self-assured gaze. His identity remains a mystery, however. Because the frame isn’t original, its inscription doesn’t help to identify him either. He was long believed to be the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, painted by Hans Holbein. In the late 19th century, this attribution was changed to the Southern Netherlandish artist Joos van Cleve or his studio.
The man wears a flamboyant hat and a striking gown lined with fur. This clothing helps to date the painting: an outfit like this would have been fashionable in the 1520s.
Presumably English Royal Collection, 1688, as by Hans Holbein the Younger, and subsequently in the collection of the Dutch Stadholders in or before 1712 (see The Hague 1988-1989, no. V); Nationale Konst-Gallery, The Hague, 1801-1808; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (inv. no. SK-A-165), since 1885; on long-term loan from the Rijksmuseum, since 1951
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