Portrait of a Man

This is a Flemish Masterpiece


toegeschreven aan Adriaen Thomasz. Key

Period and date

16de eeuw
(circa 1580)

The man sits at the corner of a table covered with green cloth, on which he rests his hands. Except for the fur collar, the bearded man is dressed entirely in black. He wears a flat beret and holds a pair of gloves in his right hand. His appearance conforms to the archetype of the Flemish humanist portrait that was popular in Renaissance painting.

Unfortunately, because there is no inscription, we do not know the man’s name. Antwerp-based painters Willem Key (1515–1568) and his pupil (and distant relative) Adriaen Thomasz. Key (1545–1589) produced many similarly grand portraits of prestigious men. Such portraits were also the trademark of Anthonis Mor (1516/21–1576/77), who, as court artist to Philip II, worked not only in Antwerp but also in several other countries. The evidence points mostly towards Adriaen Key being the maker of this portrait.


Besides the gloves that he holds in his right hand and the ring on the index finger of his other hand, there are no other objects belonging to a man in this portrait. His hands attract extra attention because they are resting on a green table, only a bit of which can be seen in the far corner of the painting. And it is precisely the hands that are a crucial key to identifying this work’s artist. The left hand is identical to the one on the monogrammed and dated (1580) portrait of a man by Adriaan Key in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels. This painting also compares extremely well with the Musea Brugge portrait in terms of composition, pose and realistic execution.


geheel, height: 79 cm
geheel, width: 61.5 cm
met lijst, height: 108.5 cm
met lijst, width: 89.5 cm
met lijst, depth: 6.5 cm
met lijst, gewicht: 11.5 kg
zonder lijst, depth: 4 cm


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