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(Follower of) Pieter Jansz. Pourbus Portrait Painting - Portrait of a Gentleman with Skull, Memento Mori oil on panel
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(Follower of) Pieter Jansz. Pourbus
Portrait of a Gentleman with Skull, Memento Mori oil on panel

16th Century

About

This early oil on oak panel depicting a gentleman in a black costume with a white collar and matching wrist cuffs, sits within a genre known as memento mori. In medieval times the theory and practise of reflecting on the transient nature of earthly life was known as the “memento mori”, a Latin phrase which translates as ‘remember, you must die’ and has been illustrated in numerous works of art. While the expression may sound sombre, the point of Memento Mori is to serve as a reminder of our mortality so as to make the most out of life - memento mori works carry optimistic, carpe-diem messages. The genre was popular in the 16th century and there was an eager audience among wealthy European collectors for them. In recent years, skull art is a popular aesthetic niche and the fascination with the genre has resurfaced, both within museums and outside, for example in the fashions of Alexander McQueen. They can be exquisite works of art that speak powerfully about the transitory nature of life and Titan Fine Art are pleased to present this charming item. Inscribed with a coat-of-arms and the age of the gentleman (26 years old). Held in an antique frame. Pieter Jansz. Pourbus (c.1523-1584) was a Flemish Renaissance painter, sculptor, draftsman and cartographer who was born in Gouda and active in Bruges. He is known primarily for his religious and portrait painting. He studied under Lancelot Blondeel, and it is thought that he married his daughter later. He became a member of the Bruges Guild of Saint Luke in 1543. Pourbus received a long-term commission from the Bruges city masters to draw maps and street plans of the city and surrounding region. At the same time he was beginning to forge a reputation as a painter in his own right, chiefly of portraits and landscapes. Pourbus enjoyed a prosperous career in Bruges and was one of the city’s leading artists, becoming Dean of the painters’ guild twice. He was also actively involved in other aspects of Bruges life, for example, he once designed pageant costumes for the Rhetoricians. Local government officials, such as the Bruges magistrates, were amongst his most important patrons, although he also received commissions from the local Spanish community. In 1580 he was appointed ‘wijkmeester’ (Dutch for district chairman) of the St Nicolaas Zestendeel area of Bruges. His pupils were his son, Frans Pourbus the Elder, Antonius Claeissens, his grandson Frans Pourbus the younger, and Hubin Boven. Provenance: Private collection in Belgium Measurements: Height 55cm, Width 44cm framed (Height 21.75”, Width 17.25” framed)

Details

  • Artist
    (Follower of) Pieter Jansz. Pourbus (1523 - 1584, Flemish)
  • Creation Year
    16th Century
  • Medium
  • Dimensions
    H 21.66 in. x W 17.33 in. x D 1.58 in.H 55 cm x W 44 cm x D 4 cm
  • Gallery Location
    London, GB
  • Reference Number
    LU119915674981
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About the Seller

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Vetted
1stdibs seller since 2019
Located in London, GB
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