Flemish painter

Portrait of a Man with a Samson Medal

752 voorzijde
752 achterzijde
752 ingelijst
752 voorzijde
752 voorzijde

Flemish painter
Portrait of a Man with a Samson Medal

c. 1515-1530 On view in Room 7

This unknown man is holding a red carnation between his thumb and forefinger. His features have been painted firmly, with no flowing transitions. The red hat with flaps and black ribbons is striking. The medal shining in the light on the front flap shows Samson fighting the lion.

Although the painter’s name is unknown, it was possible to date the portrait, as this kind of hat was popular after 1515.

Technical details

Facelifts & Make-overs - stories from our conservation studio

This painting is one of the oldest portraits in the Mauritshuis collection – it was made around 500 years ago. Its maker remains unknown, but the portrait can be dated on the basis of the man’s red hat. Hats like this were popular between 1515 and 1530.
Treating this portrait was no easy task. During the restoration, it became apparent that the background had been entirely repainted. This is often the case with old portraits like this and was done to mask discolouration or damage. Based on the paint used, we know that the new layer was applied before 1750.
Conservator Abbie Vandivere was also faced with extremely old varnish layers and later additions that were very difficult to remove. She eventually managed to expose the background’s original green paint using a special gel.
Since the painting had lost its original frame, we had a 16th-century frame copied. Today you see this unknown man with his striking red hat and carnation by himself, but there was possibly once also a second portrait of his future wife.

752 voorzijde

Flemish painter
Portrait of a Man with a Samson Medal

c. 1515-1530 On view in Room 7

Acquired with the support of the Rembrandt Association and private individuals, 1917
Upwards

Details

General information
Flemish painter
Portrait of a Man with a Samson Medal
c. 1515-1530
painting
752
Room 7
Material and technical details
oil
panel
24.4 x 33.8 cm

Provenance

A. Pallavicini-Grimaldi, Genoa, 1899 (as by Lucas van Leyden); Leo Nardus, Arnouville and Paris (as by Petrus Christus); Frederik Muller Gallery, Amsterdam; purchased with the support of the Rembrandt Association and private individuals, 1917