Leiden 1584 - Leiden 1657
Portrait of a man with a dog
Oil on panel
40.5 × 32 cm. (15.48 × 12.59 in.)
Framed Dimensions: 58 x 50 cm. (22.83 x 19.69 in.)
Provenance: German private collection.
Further information: David Bailly is a rare artist, whose number of secure works can be summed up to a handful of paintings today, so this unpublished work is an important addition to his oeuvre. Born in Leiden some twenty years before Rembrandt, he was a founding member of the city's guild and one of the artists who built the reputation of that school of painting. A portrait painter or great sensitivity, his masterpiece is undoubtedly his Self Portrait in the Leiden museum, painted in 1651 (fig 1). It condenses Portrait and Still Life into a sumptuous Vanity. Some have proposed to see Bailly as the inventor of the genre in the Netherlands. Whether true or not, Bailly certainly contributed a lot to the spreading of this taste for Vanities. Our intimate portrait is to be compared to that in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (fig. 1), or that in the Louvre (fig.2), both painted in the 1630's, characterized by a delicacy in the psychological study of the model underlined by a hushed atmosphere and a subtle use of light. The proximity of the character, the naturalness of the expression and the cross-dressing game suggest a model close to the painter. Could it be a Self Portrait? The comparison with the models in the Leiden painting or in the Rijksmuseum drawing do not contradict this possibility.