Portrait of a Young Man in Military Costume
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Gift of J. Paul Getty
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Bartholomeus van der Helst
Dutch, 1650
Oil on canvas
29 x 23 1/4 in.

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With the determined, confident air of an officer accustomed to giving orders, this young man was typical of the wealthy admirals, military heroes, and members of the regent class who patronized Bartholomeus van der Helst, the most popular portrait painter among Amsterdam's leading citizens. They sought him out for his elegant, almost glamorous manner, inspired by the art of Anthony van Dyck, and for his scrupulous attention to their expensive costume.

In characteristic fashion, van der Helst devoted extensive attention to the raised ornament of this somber soldier's costume, brilliantly depicting the gold and silver brocade and scattering reflection throughout the whole picture. In his concern with realistic effects, the artist also attended to the varied details of other surfaces, from the soft doeskin of the soldier's glove to the tassels hanging from his stiff collar.