A Man in a Black Cap

after Hans Memling (Seligenstadt 1430/40 – Bruges 1494)
National Trust Inventory Number 486806

Category Paintings
Date 1480 - 1490
Materials Oil on poplar panel
Measurements 370 x 280 mm
Place of origin Italy
Collection Petworth House and Park, West Sussex (Accredited Museum)
On show at Petworth House and Park, West Sussex, London and South East, National Trust

Memling produced a series of portrait of this type between 1480 and 1490. Many of them appear to have been painted for Italians working in Northern Europe, many of whom traded in cloth. The colours are unusually warm for Memling, and the fact that it is painted on poplar wood, seldom used in Flanders, suggests that this copy may be of Italian origin. It is not known when Memling’s original first arrived in Italy.

The original version of this portrait was in the Corsini Gallery, Florence, from where it was sold to Hitler on the orders of Mussolini in 1941. It has now been restored to the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

Summary description

Oil painting on poplar panel, A Man in a Black Cap, after Hans Memling (Seligenstadt 1430/40 – Bruges 1494), 1480/90. A portrait of an unknown man after Hans Memling (1430/35-1494), probably painted in Italy. The man is facing right front, with short curly brown hair, and wearing a black tunic and cap with a white linen collar. The middle distance is wooded, against a blue sky, with a road at left and a lake on the right and in the right distance is a church. The original portrait of around 1480 by Memling was in the Corsini Gallery, Florence. It was sold to Hitler on the orders of Mussolini in 1941; restored in 1948; and recovered in Zurich in 1973 after a theft in 1971 and is now owned by the Uffizi, Florence.

Hans Memling (c.1430/40-94) was born near Frankfurt-am-Main but was traditionally, and very probably, a pupil of Rogier van der Weyden. His art is purely Netherlandish and he seems to have spent his life in Bruges, where he became a citizen in 1465, and was one of the largest taxpayers by 1480. He painted calm and devotional pictures, full of the gentle piety which is one aspect of the later Middle Ages, and also some fine portraits. His earliest dated work is 1472 in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

Provenance

Acquired by the 3rd Earl of Egremont (1751-1837) by 1835; thence by descent, until the death in 1952 of the 3rd Lord Leconfield, who had given Petworth to the National Trust in 1947, and whose nephew and heir, John Wyndham, 6th Lord Leconfield and 1st Lord Egremont (1920-72) arranged for the acceptance of the major portion of the collections at Petworth in lieu of death duties (the first ever such arrangement) in 1956 by HM Treasury

Credit line

Petworth House, The Egremont Collection (acquired in lieu of tax by HM Treasury in 1956 and subsequently transferred to the National Trust)

Makers and roles

after Hans Memling (Seligenstadt 1430/40 – Bruges 1494), original artist

Exhibition history

Face to Face: Flanders, Florence, and Renaissance Painting, The Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens, California, USA, 2013

References

Face to Face: Flanders, Florence, and Renaissance Painting, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California 28 September 2013 - 13 January 2014 , Plate 25

Related items

Place of origin Italy (6133)
Materials Oil paint (8301)
Category Paintings (12645)
Collection Petworth House and Park, West Sussex (Accredited Museum) (1864)
Periods Pre- 1500 (753)
Maker Hans Memling (Seligenstadt 1430/40 – Bruges 1494) (13)
Subjects
Object Type Oil painting (12574)

Record Status

Enhanced

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