While the identity of the sitter in this arresting portrait is unknown, several aspects of his pose suggest that it may have been painted to commemorate his wedding. Shown in three-quarter profile, the man focuses intently to the right on a subject beyond the picture’s edge. His connection to the world outside the confines of his portrait is emphasized further by the position of his left hand, which gestures in the same direction, presumably toward the now lost portrait of his bride. The solemnity of his expression is offset by the energetic handling of the golden ringlets that frame his face and soften his angular features. The intense illumination enhances the sculptural qualities of the man’s face, particularly his strong jawline and high cheekbones, as well as the flickering highlights of his blue-grey eyes.
In the mid-20th century, Ernst Buchner published the present work as by an anonymous master possibly from the Tyrol. More recently, however, Lukas Madersbacher has refined this attribution, linking the painting to a group of portraits given to an artist known as the Master of the Angrer Portrait, so-named after the powerful bust-length likeness of Canon Gregor Angrer of Brixen, dated 1519, in the Tiroler Landesmuseum, Innsbruck. In his dissertation, “Marx Reichlich und der Meister des Angrerbildnisses" (Universität Innsbruck, 1994), Madersbacher advances a theory proposed by Erich Egg (“Marx Reichlich, der Meister des Angererbildnisses’, Zeitschrift für Kunstwissenschaft, XIV, 1960, pp. 1–18) that the entire group of portraits was painted by the Austrian painter, Marx Reichlich (fl. c.. 1485-1520). Reichlich is believed to have trained with the Tyrolean artists Friedrich and Michael Pacher in Salzburg. Kurt Löcher, who refutes Egg’s and Madersbacher’s hypothesis, has confirmed the attribution of the present painting to the Master of the Angrer Portrait on the basis of a photograph (written communication, 7 September 2015). We are grateful to Dr. Löcher and Dr. Madescbacher for their assistance in cataloguing this lot.