This elegant self-portrait depicts a half-length figure of a man in three-quarters profile with his left arm resting on a stone ledge. The somber colors of his garb, consisting of a white shirt with a dark robe, is offset by luxurious details: the fur collar of his robe, the black ribbon and gold chain around his neck, the embroidered collar and cuffs of his shirt, and the three rings on his right hand. Two pink carnations appear on the ledge before him.
Bartholomaeus Bruyn the Elder
c. 1525
Bartholomaeus Bruyn the elder displays his rank as a successful young painter in Cologne through this elegant self-portrait. For the painting he adopted a casual but self-possessed pose that imbues him with an air of confidence that is reinforced by the understated luxury of his garb and jewelry. The gold chain around his neck perhaps refers to his profession as a painter, and the carnations, popular symbols of conjugal love, on the ledge before him suggest that Bruyn might have painted this portrait for his betrothal or marriage.
Museum Purchase
Tuesday, June 28, 2022