Portrait of a Man, Possibly an Architect or Geographer

Peter Paul Rubens Flemish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 640

Thought to be Rubens’s earliest dated work, this oil on copper is one of the few known paintings by the artist completed before his departure from Antwerp for Italy in 1600 and attests to his sensitivity as a portraitist. The unknown gentleman holds a watch, an architect’s or draftsman’s square and a pair of dividers, a drafting tool. These may reference his profession, but the encased timepiece is a conventional allusion to mortality.

Portrait of a Man, Possibly an Architect or Geographer, Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, Siegen 1577–1640 Antwerp), Oil on copper

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