Portrait of a Man
This portrait is simultaneously a statement of wealth, style and piety. The gentleman is dressed in the finest fashions of the period. Pieces like the tasselled collar and lace cuff provide subtle indications of his wealth, and the artist has depicted them with incredible detail. The inclusion of a skull was common in art of the period. This was known as a memento mori, a motif that acted as a reminder of the transience of life. It also underlined the sitter’s spirituality.
Pieter Nason was a prolific portraitist, though little is known about his life, except that he was active in The Hague, and became a member of the painters’ guild there in 1639. While it is possible that Nason painted this work on a visit to London, the artist’s presence in England cannot be verified and it seems more likely that it was created in the Dutch Republic.