The present drawing was justly singled out as a highlight of the collection in the 1899 Liphart sale: it is a remarkable example of Visscher's chalk portraits on vellum, which became the most celebrated aspect of his work. Though he had been a prolific printmaker since 1649, his activity as a portrait draftsman only began in earnest in 1652, the year in which this portrait was made and from which at least ten fully signed and dated portrait drawings are known (in contrast, a total of only three portraits dating from 1649 to 1651 survive today). This is characteristic of Visscher's early portraits, still showing a rather experimental approach to the foreshortening of the arms and a visible pentimento to the left part of the hat's brim. Similar alterations can be seen in a number of the artist’s drawings from this date, including those made to the shoulder and arm in Visscher’s Self-Portrait in a wide-brimmed hat of the same year in the Rijksmuseum (inv. no. A 4482).
We are grateful to John Hawley, currently finishing his doctoral thesis on Cornelis Visscher, who has confirmed the attribution on the basis of a digital photograph and kindly assisted with the cataloguing of the drawing.