A Young Man holding a Ring

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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We don‘t know the identity of the young man in this small portrait, but his clothes are those of a wealthy individual. The fur of his cuffs and collar is spotted, which is unusual in mid-fifteenth-century Netherlandish painting; it might be lynx. The laced collar of his doublet is perhaps a German rather than Netherlandish fashion. The gold ring he holds is set with a green and a red cabochon – polished, rather than cut – stone. The form of ring, with its double stones, is uncommon: might it have been a wedding ring? Or was the sitter perhaps a goldsmith, advertising his wares? Behind him is a blue and white striped background patterned with rain clouds. There are words in between the clouds: har las uber gan (’Lord, let it pass over').

The National Gallery, London



A Young Man holding a Ring


perhaps about 1450


Oil on oak


H 17.8 x W 12.4 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Salting Bequest, 1910

Work type



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