17th-Century Portrait Of A Spanish Actor

17th-Century Portrait Of A Spanish Actor

A large 17th-century portrait of an actor dressed to the nines while performing on stage. His outfit dates to around 1585, so it’s plausible that he’s taking part in a Shakespearean play.

Perhaps this painting was a commission by the actor himself to celebrate a particularly illustrious role? We can only speculate but it’s certainly had an interesting life.

Several areas of the painting are so worn that the paint is barely visible - for example, the gentleman is carrying a sword but most of it has been lost over time.

At some point within the last 20 years, the canvas was relined professionally and, fortunately, the restorer decided to leave the paint layer untouched. It’s fascinating to see an original 17th-century piece so beautifully timeworn and true.

Oil on canvas
26½” x 37” / 67cm x 94cm
Year of creation
c. 1650
Various losses, craquelure throughout, canvas a little undulant, canvas relined and stretchers replaced. But good enough to hang without a problem.