top of page
Gortzius Geldorp - Portrait of a man 1605

Gortzius Geldorp - Portrait of a man 1605


Dutch 17th century old master Portrait of a gentleman, with an angel-shaped pendant


This portrait was painted in 1605 and depicts a 36-year old man (dated, inscribed lower left "Aetatis 36"). Our sitter, born in 1568 or 1569 has luscious dark brown hair and hazel eyes, he is wearing an elaborately embellished yellow silk jacket with golden buttons. He must have been a very wealthy man, not alone given his outfit but most notably also his jewel. The pendant, hanging on a black leather necklace, consists of a winged lady, sculpted in gold and decorated with vibrant enamels and precious stones (does she represent an angel?). Underneath the torso we can see a golden hook, this was actually a toothpick, this kind of toothpick-jewel was worn with much pride by the elite. It is rare to find them immortalised on paintings, but some other examples include "Portrait of a young man" by Alessandro Oliverio which hangs in the National Gallery in Dublin and "Portrait of Syds Van Botnia" in the Fries Museum. A sketch for such a jewel dated 1562 is in the collection of the British museum (number 1848 1125 163) and a richly decorated dragon-shaped example dating from around 1550-1600 is preserved in the collection of the Rijksmuseum. Our painting dates from when Geldorp was based in Cologne, so the sitter might by a prominent citizen of that city. 


Gortzius Geldorp, born around 1553 in Leuven, was a prominent Flemish portrait painter and engraver of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Little is known about his early life, but he likely received artistic training in Antwerp, a flourishing center of artistic activity during that period. Geldorp's career gained momentum as he moved to Italy, where he absorbed the influence of Italian Renaissance art. He became court painter to the Duke of Terra Nova, Carlo d'Aragona Tagliavia, whom he accompanied on his trips. He travelled to Cologne with the Duke who was participating in peace negotiations with the Dutch Republic. Geldorp stayed in the city while remaining a companion of the Duke on his travels. In 1610 Geldorp took over the seat of Barthel Bruyn the Younger on the city council of Cologne. Geldorp was a successful portrait painter working for the aristocracy and other prominent patrons.


Geldorp's legacy endures through the works he created, providing a glimpse into the vibrant and sophisticated world of Northern European portraiture during the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods. His works can be found in several museums including the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Louvre in Paris.


The panel measures 43 by 31,5 cms and with the frame ca. 56 by 44,5 cms. 


Provenance: Private collection Germany

    bottom of page