About this artwork

This half-length portrait shows a man at a desk or table before a detailed mountainous landscape, visible through rich marble arcading. Originally, the soberly dressed young man was holding only the rosebud, a traditional symbol of love that could also refer to the transience of beauty and life. X-rays have revealed that the other prominent objects, including the halo that transformed the man into a saint, were all later additions. The sitter must have been a wealthy man to commission a portrait of this quality from the leading Antwerp painter at the time.

Quentin Massys

Quentin Massys