This small scale portrait is reputed to depict a member of the Habsburg dynasty who ruled the Kingdom of Bohemia throughout the 17th century. Whilst this is completely plausible given the facial characteristics, particularly the prominent nose and large eyes, it has not been possible to accurately identify who the sitter is. His clothes of doublet and high collar would indicate a dateline of around the first quarter of the 17th century and therefore it definitely is not a representation of any of the actual Habsburg rulers, but perhaps of a minor member of the family circle.
The subtle painting, especially of the flesh tones indicates the hand of an artist well versed in the depiction of portraits on a reduced scale, but the technique does not seem to belong to that of a full blown miniaturist. The somewhat Machiavellian facial expression presents the sitter as at once both shrewd and calculating with an underlying cunning confidence; necessary prerequisites for self advancement within the courts of Europe at the time and perhaps no coincidence that the sitter was happy to be depicted in this assured way.
Exhibited: Statements of Self-Importance – The Portrait in Europe 1660-1950, Langston Gallery, London, 2009