Floris was an Antwerp master who studied with Lambert Lombard. This early humanist and intellectual probably stimulated him to undertake his journey to Italy (1542) ,where he was introduced to the Italian Renaissance. Returning in 1545, Floris started his own studio in Antwerp, which soon became a great success, especially with the production of religious works.
The painter was very important for the spread of the Italian Renaissance in the low countries (together with eg Michiel Coxie and Pieter Coecke van Aelst), his influence can hardly be underestimated and even painters such as Rubens -indirectly- received a strong influence from Floris.
Our "bearded man" is a so-called study head ("tronie", the model was painted and could later be used as eg a king, apostle, etc. in a larger work). And here too Floris was a visionary: this practice only became fully common in our country in the early 17th century.
Interesting pentimenti everywhere indicate originality: the master is working creatively here, making changes during the painting process.
Oil on panel, 38.5 x 28 cm (15 ¹/₈ x 11 inches)