Portrait of a Bearded Man
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Tobias Stimmer
Swiss, 1576
Pen and black ink, touches of brown ink, and black chalk underdrawing
11 3/4 x 8 3/16 in.

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This middle-aged, as-yet-unidentified sitter wears the relatively unadorned costume of a burgher. A doublet buttons up his front to a high, ruffled collar. As interiors were poorly heated at this time, it became the fashion to keep hats on indoors as well as out, so a low, soft bonnet covers his head.

After lightly outlining the form in black chalk, Tobias Stimmer drew in the face and beard in pen and brown ink and finally worked over the entire figure in black ink. His bold, fractured hatching lends a powerful sculptural quality to the hands. In the face, his strong linework, working together with the luminosity of the white of the paper, produces a powerful, forthright expression. The eyes, with their large, arresting irises, are particularly striking. Scholars assume that the drawing was made as an independent work of art as they can identify no existing painting or prints.

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