Portrait of a Man with a Falcon

ca. 1445–50

Silver point on prepared paper
Inv. No. 725 (Purchased by Johann David Passavant at the auction of the Verstolk van Soelen collection in The Hague in 1847)

19 × 14.4 cm

zur  Biographie

The art of drawing with a fine stick of silver on primed paper was practised above all in the early era of draughtsmanship – the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The author of the Man with a Falcon was a master in achieving the lively effect of various materials and surfaces with this sensitive technique. The unknown subject wears a sumptuous hat made of two types of fur; the falcon on his left hand might identify him as a person of high social standing or his profession as that of the falconer. The drawing presumably served the purposes of preparation for a painting, but its splendid execution renders it an artwork in its own right which was preserved carefully for several centuries. Old Netherlandish drawings of such quality are very rare; this one enhances the precious paintings of this period in the Städel Museum Galerie. In the nineteenth century it was initially considered a work by Jan van Eyck, then one by Rogier van der Weyden. Today it is ascribed to Petrus Christus, a painter of Bruges and direct successor to Jan van Eyck.

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