Perhaps the high point of his career came when he was commissioned, in 1658, to take the portraits of the dignitaries who gathered in Frankfurt-am-Main, to elect the next Holy Roman Emperor, following the death of Ferdinand III. For a fuller account of Vaillant's achievements as a portraitist, and his Frankfurt portraits of 1658, see William W. Robinson's recent entry on the drawing from the series, the portrait of Johann Philipp von Schönborn, Archbishop of Mainz, now in the collection of the Harvard Art Museums.1
This portrait of an unidentified sitter, though executed several years before the artist's seminal journey to Frankfurt, shares many visual qualities with the important series of drawings that he made there, qualities that are particularly evident thanks to the sheet's excellent state of preservation.
1. W.W. Robinson, with contributions from Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt. Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Mass., 2016, pp. 287-9, no. 86
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