Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Portrait of Tycho Brahe
  • Jacques de Gheyn II
    born: Antwerp, Southern Netherlands (present-day Belgium) ; died: The Hague, Dutch Republic (present-day Netherlands)
  • Portrait of Tycho Brahe, 1586
  • Where object was made: Netherlands
  • engraving
  • Paper Type: laid
  • Plate Mark/Block Dimensions: 184 x 136 mm
    Plate Mark/Block Dimensions: 7 1/4 x 5 3/8 in
    Mat Dimensions: 19 x 14 in
  • Gift of the Max Kade Foundation
  • Not on display
  • 1977.0045
Catalogue raisonné

Portrait of Tycho Brahe - sixteen coats of arms surrounding Tycho on an arch. Inscription about Brahe below image. A member of the Danish nobility, Brahe gained international fame as an astronomer. His reputation as an astronomer earned him a privileged position with the Danish court: the king presented him with an island on which to build an observatory and paid his expenses. His costume here, typical of the Danish aristocracy, expresses his position and status. Ultimately derived from Spanish court fashion, the relatively plain materials are characteristic of the dress of Danish nobility. The doublet is high-necked, with a small ruff above. The characteristic peasecod belly was achieved through padding when not provided by nature: it was considered an indication of personal merit in men. The satin-lined velvet cloak and hat add the appropriate note of elegance.