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Fine Art/Old Antique? Cavalier Oil Painting


QUESTION: I have that painting of a cavalier? that was relined and restretched. It appears to be old but I really don't have the knowledge to determine its age. I looked carefully for signature but could not find any.
Would like to know what do you think of the age, skills of the painter or anything else that would be of an interest.
Additional photos of the piece can be seen here:

Thanks in advance!

ANSWER: Dear Georgi,
I believe you are correct in that the man is dressed as a cavalier; 17th century era. His clothing, hat, and sword with the skeleton rapier (sword) are representative of the renaissance period in Europe. It is very difficult to place an age on the painting, but I would say 17th or maybe early 18th century. It is rare to find an image of an aged cavalier and in such modest clothing. Most paintings of cavaliers of the period have the men dressed more elaborately.
It is a shame it does not have a signature. I believe it to be by a skilled painter. One of the items I look at on portraits is the hands. Hands are the most difficult to get correct and many skilled artists will not even attempt them. The old saying "It will cost you an arm and a leg" comes from the extra money an artist would charge for adding limbs; especially hands to commissioned portraits. The work on the hands in this painting are exceptional.
I would continue research using a variety of key word combinations such as:
17th century cavalier, cavalier with sword, portrait of cavalier, 17th century skeleton rapier sword; etc. You will find other examples of images that contain elements of yours; but as I mentioned earlier this painting is different in the age and clothing of the sitter.
I hope this information is helpful.
Best regards,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you very much for your answer.
What are the details that can give up more about the period the painting was done? Anything in particular I should pay closer attention, do more examinations of the surface, some kind of tests? Some other opinions i got were that the piece may not be antique but just made to look old, others think that it could be 19th or eary 20th. Also, some suggested that the portrait was done after another painting or etching/engraving rather than after a real model.
So, i have different opinions on the age and the way the art was painted. Do you think I should seek further professional help? Any suggestions where to ask? In my area there are no museums and real art experts.
I am not sure if it is worth it to do further investigations as the painting is not signed. I known i wont make fortunate out of it but don't know if I should invest in appraisals.
Thanks again in advance!

Dear Georgi,
It is very difficult to age a painting without seeing it in person. There was a period late 19th century where it was popular to paint 17th century cavaliers. If there are no experts you can take the painting to locally, it would need to be shipped and the cost of that along with paying the appraiser may be more than the unsigned painting is worth. There are no tests you can do to date the painting without paying for forensic dating, which is very expensive. I am afraid I cannot advise you further on the piece.
Kind regards,

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Dolly D Headley


I can assist with identification, acquisition, sell representation, and care of fine art prints and original paintings. Some of my artist specialties include Henri Toulouse Lautrec, California Artists, and the Modern Masters. I can also assist with information on getting professional appraisals and authentication.


Dolly D. Headley, owner of Headley Fine Art, LLC, has provided consultative art services to retail gallery clients in Sausalito, CA, and at since 1998. With over 14 years experience as a Senior Art Consultant, Gallery Director, and an extensive art research library; Ms. Headley has provided hundreds of people with her high quality personalized consultation services and solid guarantee of satisfaction. Dolly is a volunteer at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

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