This stately portrait of a Flemish aristocrat was purchased by the museum in 1903 as a work by the painter Anthony van Dyck. Although opinions vary, scholars have suggested since the 1940s that the portrait was, instead, painted by van Dyck's slightly older contemporary Cornelis de Vos.
Until about 1794, the church of SS. Michael et Gudule, Brussels [see note 1]. 1899, Lawrie and Co., London [see note 2]; sold by Lawrie to T. J. Blakeslee, Blakeslee Galleries, New York; 1903, sold by Blakeslee Galleries to the MFA for $26,000. (Accession Date: January 3, 1903) NOTES:  The earliest published description of this portrait of Marie Anne Schotten was by Guillaume Pierre Mensaert in 1763. He described the painting as by Van Dyck, hanging over an epitaph of the sitter's family in the church in Brussels; see G. P. Mensaert, Le peintre amateur et curieux, part 1 (Brussels, 1763), p. 79. J. A. Rombaut described Maire Anne Schotten's marble tomb and transcribed the epitaph, which was dedicated to her and inscribed with the year of her death (1628). He noted that her husband, Charles Schotte, had commissioned the monument (see Bruxelles Illustrée, vol. 1 [Brussels, 1777], pp. 265-266). The painting was described at the church as late as 1792, and was probably removed from the building around 1794. For further information see Katlijne van der Stighelen, De Portretten van Cornelis de Vos (1584/5-1651): Een Kritische Catalogus (Brussels, 1990), pp. 133-135.  Lawrie and Co. lent the painting to the Exposition Van Dijck, Antwerp, August 12 - October 15, 1899 (cat. no. 74) and to the Royal Academy, London, 1900.
Isaac Sweetser Fund and Museum purchase with funds donated by contribution