Portrait of a Scholar

ca. 1500

Mixed technique on oakwood
Inv. No. 766

69 × 53 cm

zur  Biographie

With tremendous immediacy, Quentin Massys, born in Leuven, depicts a scholar who seems to look up from his reading in a moment of spontaneous insight. His raised right hand emphasizes his astonishment at his realization, the result of his reflection on the content of the book that is open before him. While the painter depicts the reading glasses of the apparently nearsighted man in minute detail, the words of the book remain undecipherable. The landscape in the background is typical of the Antwerp painting of the time; in its variety, it still recalls the earlier “world landscapes”. The lively and at the same time monumental conception of the portrait, however, is indebted to Italian models.

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