Portrait of a Gentleman, Bartholomaus Sarburgh

Bartholomäus Sarburgh

Portrait of a Gentleman


67x50.5cm, Oil on panel

Signed lower center: B. Sarburg F..


Bartholomäus Sarburgh was a highly popular portrait painter in his time, and was probably taught in the Hague by Jan Anthonisz van Ravenstein. He resided in Bern from 1620 to 1623, where he painted some of his finest works. After this, we know of visits to Basel, The Hague and Cologne. The latter trip being in 1637, the same year in which he is recorded to have painted a copy of the Madonna of Mayor Meyer (later known as the “Darmstadt Madonna”) for Queen Maria de´ Medici, which was long considered to be an authentic Holbein. Many of Sarburgh’s works are kept in museums and thus do not turn up on the art market that often.

This portrait of a man is a conventional half-figure representation of a model on a neutral background, created by the master in the 1620s during his active creative period in Bern and Basel.

The static solemnity of the model is enlivened by his facial features that the artist has captured with great skill. The author has created a convincing character whose benevolent personality and expressive glance pointed toward the viewer convey the mentality of the era and arouse interest in this type of person. The portrait impresses us as not just a picture of an unfamiliar individual but as generalization of a man who lived in those days, adding historical value to this work of art. Also the artist’s meticulous treatment of fabrics conveying the qualities of the material, the vain collar and the stately line of buttons on the coat, deserve special attention.


Private collection, Switzerland

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