This month, we dive into Camille Polkownik’s new article ‘An examination of a group of works related to Albrecht Dürer’s trip to the Netherlands’, in: Hamilton Kerr Institute, Bulletin, 9 (2022):  87-102. Among other things, the article examines a portrait from our collection that has recently been restored, revealing a fascinating story with unexpected results.

Before and after restauration of Portrait of a Man by an unknown South Netherlandish Master, 16th century ©The Phoebus Foundation

Find out more by reading the abstract here:

“The following paper is an investigation into the relationship between a drawing by German artist Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) and a group of paintings, initially thought to depict the Portuguese humanist philosopher Damião de Góis (1502–74). First, the paintings were examined to establish whether they were consistent with sixteenth-century materials and compared stylistically with the drawing. Second, an argument against the current identification of the sitter was made, then an alternative identification was proposed. The technical analysis showed the paintings’ materials and appearance were consistent with the sixteenth century and that they were probably made in the second quarter, shortly after the original drawing by Dürer, but most likely by an Antwerp-based studio/workshop unrelated to Dürer. Furthermore, the research suggests the sitter cannot be de Góis and that the man depicted could be a Portuguese merchant and diplomat based in Antwerp with whom Dürer developed a friendship during his stay in the Netherlands in 1520–21.”