|Thomas Hendricksz de Keyser, Portrait of a Young Man With a Ruff, mid 1620s. (4 1/2 × 3 9/16 in.) J. Paul Getty Museum|
The Getty Museum has purchased a 4-1/2 inch high oval Portrait of a Young Man With a Ruff by Thomas de Keyser. Rob Smeets Old Master Paintings, Geneva, offered the likeness at TEFAF 2022. Executed on a copper plate, it becomes the smallest oil painting in the Getty collection.
De Keyser was Amsterdam's leading portrait painter before the arrival of Rembrandt. He employed chiaroscuro, seen here in the shadow on the wall at lower right, and adopted the conventions of aristocratic portraiture to a burgeoning bourgeoisie. Some of de Keyser's innovations were taken further by Rembrandt, obscuring de Keyser's contribution. Painting was a side hustle for de Keyser, otherwise architect to the city of Amsterdam and a dealer in architectural stone. Long after Rembrandt's school ate his portrait-business lunch, de Keyser produced a sparkling group of small equestrian portraits in Dutch landscapes.