Dutch painter of 16th century - inv. 1043
Due to the probably spurious monogram ‘HE’, top left, this small portrait was attributed first to Lucas de Heere (Gand, c. 1534 – Gand? 1584), then to Hans Eworts (Antwerp, 1540 – 1574), a Flemish artist and follower of Hans Holbein (Augusta, 1497 – London, 1543).
The sitter is presented following a model common in sixteenth-century north-European portrait painting, placed almost three-quarter face with his hand holding a scroll. This pose recurs frequently in Dutch art of the first half of the century, particularly in portraits by Joos van Cleve, Bernard van Orley and Jan Gossaert, although there is an evident sculptural-spatial research in their work, often created by movement of the hands or a turned bust, which is absent here. A certain rigidity and austerity in this image might perhaps refer more closely to Holbein.
The many, though generic, stylistic and compositional references due to the not very high quality of the work lead to an attribution to the Dutch School recently put forward by scholars.