This sensitive portrait of an unidentified man is a fine example of Visscher's portrait drawings. The refined handling of the chalk in the face, the subtle hatching in the background and the looser strokes of black chalk in the sitter's garment are typical of Visscher's portrait drawings. Only a small number of drawings by the artist on vellum, a costly material, are known. The artist usually reserved it for commissioned portraits and used paper for other drawings. The present drawing can be compared to Bust of an Old Man, signed and dated 1654, in the University College London Art Museum, London (inv. 2494) and to a similar drawing possibly of the same man in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (inv. RP-T-1888-A-1534). John Hawley dates the present drawing at around 1654-55, a period in which Visscher moved from Haarlem to Amsterdam.
We are grateful to John Hawley, currently finishing his doctoral thesis on Cornelis Visscher, for his assistance in preparing this catalogue entry and for confirming the attribution to Visscher on the basis of a digital photograph.