Werner Jacobsz. van den Valckert
Netherlandish, 1585 ‑ 1627
Portrait of a Man with a Lay Figure, 1624
Oil on panel
32 3/8 × 22 9/16 in. (82.2 × 57.3 cm.)
Purchase, Museum Art Fund  1963.29

What’s the Backstory?
While the personal identity of the man in this portrait is currently unknown, there are several clues that offer information about his life. Because the artist was living and working in Amsterdam in 1624, we can infer that the sitter was also a resident of that city. The objects that surround the man hint at his profession as a skilled woodworker. He directs our attention by pointing to a jointed mannequin on the table next to him. This is known as a “lay figure,” a movable, wooden model used by sculptors to assist them in depicting poses and drapery. A variety of tools—a wooden mallet, chisels, gouges, and a compass—are also prominently displayed, advertising his expertise.