Michael Sweerts (Flemish, 1618–1664) Two European men in Middle Eastern dress pose in front of a parapet. The bearded man on the left gestures to the right, while the other man looks in the same direction and holds a cryptic message in Italian: Sig:r mio videte la strade di sa lute per la mano di sweerts (My Lord, see the way to salvation by the hand of Sweerts). The note's meaning and the identity of the two gentlemen have eluded scholars. The two men appear to be individualized portraits, recalling the tradition of friendship portraits so popular in Northern Europe. The refined execution of this painting is typical of Flemish artist Michael Sweert's late style, practiced when he traveled in India as a missionary. "My Lord," then, may be addressed to the viewer, encouraging him to listen to Sweerts's preaching. With this double portrait, the artist may be urging the observer to find redemption through his belief in God, just as Sweerts did.
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Artwork in this collection is from The J. Paul Getty Museum. Reproduction rights are reserved by the copyright owner and used under license by Archivea GmbH. .