Portrait of a Man with a Falcon
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
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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