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A Man aged 38

Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

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An unknown man gazes past us into the distance. There is nothing to identify him beyond the scroll in his hand, which tells us his age: 38. His clothing is sombre – there is no conspicuous display of wealth and status – but it does suggest that he was a man of means.

The man’s costume and the style of the painting suggest it was done in around 1520. The painting isn't signed but resembles a group of portrait drawings made by Lucas van Leyden, two of which are dated 1521.

His intent gaze, firm jaw and determined mouth give an impression of a formidable character. This intensity and edginess is typical of van Leyden, and can also be found in other Netherlandish portraits.

The National Gallery, London



A Man aged 38


about 1521


Oil on oak


H 47.6 x W 40.6 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Presented by the children of Lewis Fry in his memory, through The Art Fund, 1921

Work type



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The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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