Overview

Gossaert's portrait shows a merchant seated in a cramped yet cozy space,surrounded by the tools of his trade. Scattered over the table are such useful items as a talc shaker used to dry ink, an ink pot, a pair of scales for testing the weight (and hence the quality) of coins, and a metal receptacle for sealing wax, quill pens, and paper. Attached to the wall are balls of twine and batches of papers labeled "miscellaneous letters" and "miscellaneous drafts." The monogram on the sitter's hat pin and index finger ring have led to his tentative identification as Jerome Sandelin, who was a tax collector in Zeeland. This region, on the southern coast of present–day Holland, was also the home of Jan Gossaert for approximately the last ten years of his life.

The artist's Netherlandish love of detail and texture combine with his admiration for the massiveness of Italian High Renaissance art to achieve here what might be termed a monumentality of the particular. At the same time, the sitter's furtive glance and prim mouth are enough to inform us of the insecurity and apprehension that haunted bankers in the 1530s, when the prevailing moral attitude was summed up by the Dutch humanist Erasmus, who asked, "When did avarice reign more largely and less punished?"

Inscription

upper left on the paper: Alrehande Missiven (miscellaneous letters); upper right on the paper: Alrehande Minuten (miscellaneous drafts); on ring on sitter's index finger: IS; on pin on hat: IAS (intertwined)

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

The Marquesses of Lansdowne, London and Bowood, Wiltshire, by 1866; sold by Lord Landsown in January 1967 to (Thos. Agnew & Sons, London);[1] purchased January 1967 by NGA.

Exhibition History

1866
Exhibitions of Works by Ancient Masters, British Institution, London, 1866, no. 70.
1884
Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1884, no. 288, as Holbein.
1954
Loan Exhibition of the Lansdowne Collection, Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., London, 1954-1955, no. 17.
1956
L'Art flamand dans les collections britanniques et la Galerie Nationale de Victoria, Groeningemuseum, Bruges, 1956, no. 33.
1963
Le siècle de Bruegel: La peinture en Belgique au XVIe siècle, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, 1963, no. 112.
1969
In Memoriam, Ailsa Mellon Bruce, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1969, unnumbered checklist.
2002
Deceptions and Illusions: Five Centuries of Trompe l'Oeil Painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2002-2003, no. 32, color repro.
2010
Jan Gossaert's Renaissance, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The National Gallery, London, 2010-2011, no. 58, repro. (not in London catalogue).

Bibliography

1884
Richter, J. Paul. "The Dutch and Flemish Pictures at Burlington House." The Academy 25 (12 January 1884): 34.
1897
Ambrose, G. Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures belonging to the Marquess of Lansdowne, K.G., 1897: 60, no. 115.
1954
Marlier, Georges. Erasme et la peinture flamande de son temps. Damme, 1954: 273-274.
1954
Sutton, Denys. "Pictures from the Lansdowne Collection." Country Life 2 (1954): 1959, repro.
1955
"Londra: Attività delle Gallerie." Emporium 121 (May, 1955): 229, repro.
1957
Grossmann, Fritz. "Flemish Paintings at Bruges." The Burlington Magazine 99 (1957): 4-5.
1957
Puyvelde, Leo van. "Un portrait de marchand par Quentin Metsys et les percepteurs d'impôts par Marin van Reymerswael." Revue belge d'archéologie et d'histoire de l'art 26 (1957): 9.
1961
Osten, Gert von der. "Studien zu Jan Gossaert." De Artibus Opuscula XL. Essays in Honor of Erwin Panofsky. 2 vols. New York, 1961: 474, fig. 18.
1967
Friedländer 1972, 8:113, Add. no. 164, pl. 57.
1967
Rosenberg, Jakob. "A Portrait of a Banker (Jerome Sandelin?) by Jan Gossaert called Mabuse." Studies in the History of Art 1 (1967-68): 39-43, repro.
1968
Herzog, Sadja. "Jan Gossaert called Mabuse (ca. 1478-1532): A Study of his Chronology with a Catalogue of his Works." Ph.D. diss., Bryn Mawr College, 1986: 137, 312-315, no. 53, pl. 63.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture: Illustrations (Companion to the Summary Catalogue, 1965). Washington, 1968: 52, no. 2316, repro.
1972
Sweeny, Barbara. John G. Johnson Collection. Catalogue of Flemish and Dutch Paintings. Philadelphia, 1972: 43.
1973
Voet, Leon. Antwerp, The Golden Age. Antwerp, 1973: 252, repro. 253.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 158, repro. 159.
1977
Silver, Larry. "Power and Pelf: A New-Found Old Man by Massys." Simiolus 9 (1977): 76, fig. 15.
1978
Broadley, Hugh, and John Oliver Hand. Flemish Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1978: 7, 26, repro. 27.
1979
Watson, Ross. National Gallery of Art, Washington. London, 1979: 58, color pl. 41.
1980
Grosshans, Rainald. Maerten van Heemskerck: Die Gemälde. Berlin, 1980: 35, fig. 141.
1980
Holman, Thomas. "Holbein's Portraits of the Steelyard Merchants: An Investigation." Metropolitan Museum Journal 14 (1980): 141, fig. 2.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 984: 158, no. 169, color repro., as Portrait of a Banker.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 181, repro.
1985
Snyder, James. Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350-1575. New York, 1985: 426.
1986
Hand, John Oliver and Martha Wolff. Early Netherlandish Painting. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1986: 103-107, color repro. 105.
1992
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 46, repro.
1993
Nygren, Edward J. “Money." In Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art. Edited by Helene E. Roberts. 2 vols. Chicago, 1998: 2:620.
1997
Bätschmann, Oskar, and Pascal Griener. Hans Holbein. Translated from German by Cecilia Hurley and Pascal Griener. London, 1997: 180-181, fig. 329
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 126-127, no. 97, color repro.
2005
Sander, Jochen. Hans Holbein D.J. Tafelmaler in Basel 1515-1532. Munich, 2005: 295.
2005
Snyder, James. Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575. Revised by Larry Silver and Henry Luttikhuizen. Upper Saddle River, 2005: 460-462, fig. 19.12.
2008
Mensger, Ariane. “Gossaert (Gossart), Jan.” In Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon: Die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker [unfinished vols.] (Munich and Leipzig, 1992- ). Munich and Leipzig, 2008: 59:173.
2011
Cambell, Peter. "At the National Gallery." London Review of Books 33, no. 6 (17 March 2011): 18.
2011
"London Highlights," Tableau Fine Arts Magazine 33, no. 1 (February-March 2011): cover, 7, 58, color repros.
2011
Merle du Bourg, Alexis. "Portrait d'un marchand, d'un financier ou d'un édile" Dossier de l'art no. 184 (April 2011): cover, t.o.c., 72-73, color repros.
2011
Vergnon, Dominique. "Jan Gossaert: Passeur de l'ombre." L'Oeil no. 633 (March 2011): 104, color repro.
2014
Bätschmann, Oskar, and Pascal Griener. Hans Holbein. Rev. and expanded second edition. Translated from German by Cecilia Hurley and Pascal Griener. London, 2014: 258, fig. 253.

Technical Summary

The painting is in excellent condition and contains only a few scattered retouchings on the sitter's sleeves, the papers on the back wall, and the left page of the ledger in the foreground. Several changes are visible: the sitter's hat was originally broader and his hair longer at the back; the cord that hangs in front of the papers at the upper right has been shortened. Underdrawing is visible in the sitter's hands and sleeves and in the papers hanging on the rear wall. The reverse of the panel has been planed down and coated with a thin layer of paint.

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