Switzerland, ca. 1625/30
height 23.5 cm, width 15 cm
In the early C16 relief portraits of persons of rank had already incorporated motifs of memento mori and this portrait's resemblance to a funerary monument is part of that tradition. In front of Gothic tracery on a red background, two angels hold a rich hanging with openwork borders. In front of this the three quarters length figure of a nobleman armed with a sword almost steps out of the frame. He is dressed in the fashion of ca. 1625, has scars on his forehead, and his right hand is decorated with rings on his thumb and little finger. The coat of arms to the left of his head belongs to the Zurlauben family, residents of Zug who made careers for themselves in foreign service. He is perhaps Konrad Zurlauben III (1571-1629). The relief, including the frame, was carved from a single piece of wood: the unknown artist's display of technical skill was a response to an appreciation, typical of 'Kunstkammer' collectors, for the virtuoso and intricate as an end in itself.