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Overview

Although the identity of the sitter is unknown his elegant dress and bearing suggest that he was an individual of wealth and distinction. The inclusion of a hunting dog was quite common in portraits of aristocrats, and the gold chains are a usual sign of honor. The suggestion of a military identification is enhanced by the gesture of his hand fisted at his waist, and the standing, three-quarter-length pose was generally used by Mor in his paintings of aristocrats as opposed to the more informal poses he used in his likenesses of middle-class subjects.

The most likely precedent for this painting is the Portrait of Charles V (Prado, Madrid), done in 1532 or 1533 by the Venetian artist Titian. From Titian, Mor adapted the compositional arrangement for his depiction of a standing man with a dog. Similarly, the way that light is employed, brilliantly illuminating selective portions of the figure while arbitrarily obscuring other parts in dark shadow, is thoroughly Titianesque. Mor's style also reveals his training in his native Flanders, in his close attention to detail and delight in depicting textures.

The deft handling of paint and the astute psychological presentation clearly demonstrate why Mor was such a sought-after portraitist during the sixteenth century, anticipating the achievements of the great portraitist of the aristocracy in the following century, Anthony van Dyck.

Inscription

upper left: Antonius mor pingebat a. 1569

Provenance

Probably Sir Peter Lely [d. 1680], London. (sale, London, 18 August 1682).[1] George John Spencer, 2d earl Spencer [1758-1834], Althorp House, Northamptonshire, by 1822;[2] The Earls Spencer, Althorp House; Albert Edward John Spencer, 7th earl Spencer [1892-1975], Althorp House, until 1927; (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London and New York); purchased February 1930 by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 28 December 1934 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1857
Art Treasures of the United Kingdom: Paintings by Ancient Masters, Art Treasures Palace, Manchester, 1857, no. 513, as His Own Portrait by Sir Antonio More.
1866
Special Exhibition of National Portraits Ending with the Reign of King James the Second, South Kensington Museum, London, 1866, no. 186.
1897
Exhibition of the Royal House of Tudor, Corporation of Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, 1897, no. 126.
1904
Dutch Exhibition, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1904, no. 140.
1907
Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1907, no. 8.
1927
Flemish and Belgian Art, 1300-1900, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1927, no. 231.
Bibliography
1822
Dibdin, Thomas Frognall. Aedes Althorpianae; or, An Account of the Mansion, Books, and Pictures, at Althorp, The Residence of George John, Earl Spencer, K.G. ... 2 vols. London, 1822: 1:262-263, repro. opp. 262.
1823
Catalogue of the Pictures at Althorp, the Seat of Right Honorable the Earl Spencer, K. G.. Northampton, 1823: 23.
1826
Walpole, Horace, George Vertue, and James Dallaway. Anecdotes of Painting in England: with some account of the principal artists; and incidental notes on other arts; collected by the late George Vertue; digested and published from his original MSS. 5 vols. London, 1826-1828: 1:240.
1836
Passavant, Johann David. Tour of a German Artist in England. Translated by Elizabeth Eastlake. 2 vols. London, 1836: 2:35.
1851
Catalogue of the Pictures at Althorp House in the County of Northampton, with occasional Notes, Biographic and Historical. London, 1851: no. 271.
1854
Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Treasures of Art in Great Britain: Being an Account of the Chief Collections of Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Illuminated Mss.. 3 vols. Translated by Elizabeth Rigby Eastlake. London, 1854: 3:457.
1857
Kramm, Christian. De levens en werken der Hollandsche en Vlaamsche kunstchilders, beeldhouwers, graveurs, en bouwmeesters. 6 parts and supplement in 3 vols. Amsterdam, 1857-1864: 4:1160-1161.
1860
Bürger, W. [Théophile Thoré] Trésors d'art en Angleterre. Brussels and Ostende, 1860: 173-174.
1861
Blanc, Charles. École Hollandaise. 2 vols. Histoire des peintres de toutes les écoles 1-2. Paris, 1861: 1:4, 8, repro. 1 (engraving of head).
1906
Pierre-Marcel, René. "Collection du Comte Spencer." Les arts 60 (December 1906): 8, repro. 5.
1907
Friedländer, Max J. "Die Winterausstellung der Royal Academy in London 1907." Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft 30 (1907): 378.
1907
Loga, Valerian von. "Antonis Mor als Hofmaler Karls V. und Philipps II." Jahrbuch der kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien 27 (1907/1909): 112, fig. 22.
1907
Scheewe, Ludwig. "Antonis Mor." In Thieme-Becker. 37 vols. Leipzig, 1907-1950: 25(1931):111.
1910
Hymans, Henri. Antonio Moro son oeuvre et son temps. Brussels, 1910: 114-115.
1924
Friedländer, Max J. Die altniederländische Malerei 14 vols. 1924-1937. Leiden, 1936: 13:172, no. 354. (English ed., 14 vols., 1967-1976. Leiden, 1975: 13:102, 118, no. 354, pl. 176.)
1926
Tipping, H. Avray. English Homes. 9 vols. London, 1926: 9:repro. 315.
1927
Benkard, Ernst. Das Selbstbildnis vom 15. bis zum Beginn des 18. Jahrhunderts. Berlin, 1927: xxviii-xxix, 24-25, pl. 31.
1934
Marlier, Georges. "Antonis Mor van Dashorst (Antonio Moro)." Académie Royale de Belgique. Classe des Beaux-Arts Mémoires. Series 2.3. Fasc. 2 (1934): 22, 79-83, 96-97, no. 11, fig. 11.
1937
Cortissoz, Royal. An Introduction to the Mellon Collection. Boston, 1937: 35-36.
1941
De Tolnay, Charles. "Flemish Paintings in the National Gallery of Art." Magazine of Art 34 (1941): 189-191, 200, figs. 20-22.
1941
Duveen Brothers. Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941: no. 190, repro., as Self-Portrait (Presumed).
1941
Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 135, no. 52.
1942
Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 240, repro. 28.
1947
Frerichs, L. C. J. Antonio Moro. Amsterdam, 1947: 39, 57, repro. 52.
1947
Friedländer, Max J. "Frans Pourbus der Ältere." Oude Holland 57 (1947): 65-66, fig. 6.
1949
Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 66, repro.
1953
De Vries, A. B. "Antonio Moro." Les arts plastiques. Series 6.3 (1953): 206, fig. 95.
1960
Broadley Hugh T. Flemish Painting in the National Gallery of Art (Booklet no. 5 in Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC). Washington, 1960: 9, 34-35, color repro.
1960
Wilenski, R. H. Flemish Painters 1430-1830. New York, 1960: 168, 608, pl. 428.
1962
Müller Hofstede, Justus. "Zur frühen Bildnismalerei von Peter Paul Rubens." Pantheon 20 (1962): 286-287, fig. 13.
1962
Puyvelde, Leo van. La peinture flamande au siècle de Bosch et Breughel. Paris, 1962: 264, fig. 142.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 306, repro.
1965
Philippot, Paul. "Le portrait à Anvers dans la seconde moitié du XVIe siècle." Bulletin des Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique 14 (1965): 173, fig. 4.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 93.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 82, repro.
1972
Ragghianti, Carlo L. "Pertinenze francesi nel cinquecento." Critica d'Arte 19, n.s. 122 (1972): 46, 73, fig. 53.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 244, repro. 245.
1978
De Meyere, J. A. L. "Utrechtse schilderkunst in de tweede helft van de 16de eeuw." Jaarboek Oud-Utrecht (1978): 145, fig. 26.
1981
Groeneveld, Elizabeth E. H. "Een herziene biographie van Anthonis Mor." Jaarboek van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen (1981): 115.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 259, no. 325, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 283, repro.
1986
Hand, John Oliver and Martha Wolff. Early Netherlandish Painting. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1986: 202-205, color repro. 203.
1992
National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1992: 48, repro.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 125, no. 96, color repro.
2011
Pergam, Elizabeth A. The Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition of 1857: Entrepreneurs, Connoisseurs and the Public. Farnham and Burlington, 2011: 313.
Technical Summary

The painting has been transferred from a panel to a canvas support.[1] The original support was composed of three boards joined vertically. The background, originally very thinly painted, is now somewhat abraded and has been rather heavily inpainted, perhaps to give it a more finished appearance. In addition, a strip about one inch wide has been repainted along the margin of the painting on all sides. Inpainting is also evident in two vertical strips along the former join lines, in the beard of the sitter to the left of his mouth where there is a rather large loss, and in small scattered patches on his forehead, cheeks, and hands. The signature and date appear to be original, though the signature has been reinforced.

[1] Presumably the painting was transferred after Duveen acquired it, when it was also cleaned and restored. In the catalogue of the 1927 Royal Academy exhibition, no. 231, and in earlier catalogues it is described as on panel.