About this artwork
In this portrait from relatively early in his career, Quentin Massys followed stylistic conventions that appealed to Antwerp’s growing market of patrons while also exhibiting the bold innovations that ultimately made him one of city’s most influential painters. The sitter appears frozen in a somewhat unnatural pose, as was the fashion for half-length portraits at the time, and the positioning of his left hand on the painting’s lower edge recalls the spatial illusionism found in portraits by Netherlandish artists of the previous generation. However, the subtle modeling of the face conveys a strong sense of the sitter’s individual character at a time when such works tended to idealize their subjects. The pink, or carnation, held by the sitter could symbolize marriage or Jesus Christ’s incarnation.
- Quentin Massys
- Portrait of a Man with a Pink
- Oil on panel
- 43.8 × 29.2 cm (17 1/4 × 11 1/2 in.) Painted surface: 43.2 × 28.4 cm (17 × 11 3/16 in.)
- Gift of John J. Glessner