Hans Mielich was the leading painter in Bavaria in the mid-sixteenth century. His art was greatly influenced by Albrecht Altdorfer with whom he worked in Regensburg from about 1536 to 1538. After a trip to Rome in 1542, Mielich settled in his native Munich, becoming court painter to Albrecht V, the Duke of Bavaria.
This sitter's identification with the Fröchl family derives from the presence of their coat-of-arms painted on the reverse of the panel. The man might Jakob Fröschl of Wasserburg. A grain merchant and city councilor in Wasserburg, he married in 1539, and thus this may be his wedding portrait.
The sitter's large scale, dignified bearing, and richly decorated padded black jacket all suggest someone of great power and importance. In the background, visible through the wood-trimmed window, is a landscape with trees, a house, and a man and a horse plowing. Clearly, the man was a substantial landowner as well.
Beyond its representational fascination, the portrait is a wonderful study in the abstract interplay of pattern, form, and outline. The massive, simple expanse of the black jacket contrasts with the intricately marbleized decor of the wall which, in turn, mimics the irregular configurations of the trees.
More information on this painting can be found in the Gallery publication German Paintings of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries, which is available as a free PDF https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/research/publications/pdfs/german-painting-fifteenth-through-seventeenth-centuries.pdf