A Man With Disabilities
This is an unusual and unique late 16th-century painting of a man with a physical disability. In typical portrait-style he gazes at the viewer, while the top of his head is covered by a hat. A fashionable neck piece separates his head from his naked body, which lies chest-down on a dark green sheet. His limbs appear withered and useless. Originally the portrait was partially obscured by a sheet of red paper, which the observer would lift to reveal the subject’s body. Observers indicated that they were shocked. The man was probably a jester at a court.
The painting currently hangs in The Chamber of Art and Curiosity at Ambras Castle. It was acquired by Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria, who, like many Renaissance rulers, was interested in promoting the arts and sciences. An extensive analysis of the painting is available here for anyone who reads German (or can decipher Google translated German).