CIRCLE OF MARCUS GHEERAERTS II (1561-1636), Dutch Knight of the Golden Fleece
Medium: Oil on canvas
W 28 1/4" × H 33 1/4"
This portrait depicts a gentleman who has formerly been identified as Thomas Cecil, the first Earl of Exeter K.G. (1542-1623), though has now been identified as a Knight of the Dutch Order of the Golden Fleece of the Habsburg branch of the order. The work appears to be a product from the circle of the Marcus Gheeraerts II (1561-1636). A highly defined and elegant portrait with an intriguing depiction of perspective, this work offers an insight into the life of the knight. The sitter appears captivating in his demeanour, as he wears a black silk doublet and ruffled collar. The artist has delicately interpreted the collar ruff with intricate brushwork that is defined by a figure-of-eight pattern. Whilst further elements of intricacy are present in the gold enamelled chain that holds a pendant around his neck, the insignia of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The sitter is presented before a lavish red swath of drapery, framed by deeps folds that reveal an opening to a luminous landscape on the right, thus making for a compelling scene. To the upper left corner of the portrait, we see the coat of arms that is defined by the lion rampant of Flanders.