A man in an exquisite black outfit sits in a dark room. Lying on the table is a heavy oriental carpet, with a lectern and some books resting on top. The sitter looks out at us as he browses through one of the books. This gives the impression that we are interrupting his studies and lends the portrait a certain informality.
Thomas de Keyser specialised in small portraits like this, in which the sitter is portrayed full length. His portraits were popular among the Amsterdam elite, until Rembrandt moved to the city and became the pre-eminent portrait painter.
Thomas de Keyser (Amsterdam 1596/1597 - 1667 Amsterdam)
Portrait of a Scholar
82.5 x 61 cm
Signed and dated
at left, on the closet: TDK ANo. 1631 TDK in ligature; only traces of the date are visible
Pieter Leendert de Neufville, Amsterdam, 1759; Leendert Pieter de Neufville, Amsterdam, 1759-1765; Prince William V, The Hague, 1765-1795; confiscated by the French, transferred to the Muséum Central des Arts/Musée Napoléon (Musée du Louvre), Paris, 1795-1815; Royal Picture Gallery, housed in the Prince William V Gallery, The Hague, 1816; transferred to the Mauritshuis, 1822