Actual Size

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.

 The de Keyser portrait joins a group of Dutch and Italian paintings on copper in the Getty collection, including recently acquired examples by Lavinia Fontana and Annibale Carracci.
Framed image


The ruff is hallucinogenic.
Is the impressive frame ivory? Is it period? If yes, any export issues?

De Keyser is fine. The man knows how to do black. See his "A Musician and His Daughter" of 1629 at the Met.

But decades before de Keyser was doing his portraits of dandies, a precocious 20-year old Peter Paul Rubens produced his brilliant copper, "A Portrait of a Man, Possibly an Architect or Geographer" of 1597. It's possibly my favorite Old Master picture at the Met.

I don't know anything about the frame except that it was so displayed at TEFAF:
Anonymous said…
Currently, at the Yale Art Gallery, there is an exhibition on 17th-Century Dutch Art of small scale (e.g., the size of the Getty painting).

The Yale exhibition makes the case that in the Netherlands such small objects were prized by the mercantile class for their intricacy, intimacy, and the delight that small objects (especially ones depicting much larger worlds) could elicit.

Curiously, the Yale exhibition is another precursor to the upcoming LACMA exhibition, "The World Made Wondrous."

The stuff of 17th-Century Dutch collectors seems to be on everyone's mind.

--- J. Garcin

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