Jacob Jordaens

Portrait of an Old Man

Portrait of an Old Man
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Jacob Jordaens
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on canvas, 154x118.5 cm
Origin: Flanders, Circa 1637

This painting is one the many commissions Jordaens received in the course of the 1630s and 1640s where he used the entire range of devices traditionally applied when painting official portraits in keeping with the genre as it was so brilliantly developed by Rubens and Van Dyck. Such portraits necessarily included an architectural background and drapery. The model is depicted wearing a rich costume. He is positioned above the viewer, so that we look up at him. In this manner, the artist has both literally and figuratively elevated the model and emphasized his importance. However, in contrast to Van Dyck, who considered his main task to communicate to us the high rank of his clients, their nobility from birth and their power, Jordaens used the same techniques to serve a special class of fortunate members of the bourgeoisie. In the Hermitage portrait, he has portrayed a man of advanced years without any flattery, showing his puffed eyes and obese body which barely fits in the armchair. Nonetheless, the wealthy architectural surroundings and the scale of the figure filling the entire foreground undoubtedly lend importance and grandeur to the personality of the subject of this portrait.

The work was executed around 1637 and is a companion painting to An Unknown Woman .

Style: Baroque
Source of entry: Collection of baron L.A. Crozat de Tierra, Paris, 1772
Exibition: Flemish Art: 17th century

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