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Hidden van't Woudt I.1

Based on the Portrait of a Gentleman by Jan van't Woudt from 1599.

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Hidden van't Woudt I.1 by Volker Hermes
Original work by van't Woudt (public domain)

We live in a time where individuality is very important, we know the feeling that we want to present ourselves as an individual person. In the past portraits were also created exactly for this purpose, before the times of photography and the selfie. But just like today, these portraits were also meant to do more, they placed the portrayed person in a social context and showed how wealthy, how cool, how fashionable one was.

This was achieved by carefully selected clothing and pose. The original is a three-quarter portrait and that was one of the most expensive ways to order a portrait. The more of the body was shown, the more expensive it was. The sitter was therefore very wealthy, which in those times was synonymous with prestigious. But also all the fabrics he wears give an impression of an important man, supported by the self-confident pose. At the same time this portrait breathes the masculinity of that time.

The silhouette of his outfit was considered very masculine, they ruffles on the collar and cuffs as well and I included this expression of virility in the mask of my modification. But we actually do not know who he is anymore, his name has been lost in the course of history.

That's where modifications additionally comes in and takes up this aspect of anonymity, my mask turns him unrecognizable, his person steps back behind the surface of his outfit. Today, anonymity is also a theme, as a protection against too much public recognizability. Even famous fashion houses like Balenciaga play with the aspect that you can no longer recognize the wearer of the fashion. An ironic trick that I also use in my work.

NFT Contract

The contract for this NFT is Hidden Portraits by Volker Hermes (HPBVH) and was minted using Manifold Studio . The contract is an ERC-1155 standard on the Ethereum blockchain. All images and metadata are stored on the blockchain using Arweave.

Original Image Sources

Hermes sources his original images from museums, and autction houses. All images are within the public domain.


Hermes digitally alters each image ONLY using elements that already exist in the original painting. He finds it important that his painterly modifications credibly blend with the original artwork. This way, the originals’ aura is preserved as they are turned into a newer and more contemporary version.