A Portrait of a Unknown Gentleman by Adrian Thomas Key

Agecroft’s halls are filled with portraits, and they are some of the objects that prompt the most questions from visitors. This blog offers a wonderful opportunity to highlight a portrait this is not currently on view. The details in the painting offer great insights into the mindset of 16th century Europeans. This darkly painted, 3/4 length portrait of an unknown gentleman was painted in 1575, and is attributed to the Flemish artist Adrian Thomasz Key, a portraitist known for well-drawn figures and a strong use of color. Here he uses black and white to create a dramatic effect. The viewer’s eyes are drawn to the subject’s face, surrounded by a white ruff, setting it off from the black backg

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