Aertgen van Leyden, also known as Aert Claesz., was a Netherlandish painter active in the first half of the 16th century. His style combines the influences of the leading painters of the day such as Jan Wellens de Cock, Jan van Scorel and Hans Baldung Grien, among others. Due to the varied nature of his output and the different styles that he employed, the attribution and dating of his works has proved complex. The present portrait has been identified as a fragment of The Temptations of Saint Anthony in the Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, as the truncated fingers of one of the hands connect to those of the donor in the present work, according to Boon. There are also similarities between the backgrounds of the two paintings, the chromatic range, the false inscription with the letter “L”, and the date “1511” to be seen on the two paintings.
According to Boon the present panel is a fragment of The Temptations of Saint Anthony, a work now in the Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. When that work was cleaned the fingers of a hand appeared on the left side that Boon considered to belong to the present figure. Both paintings also have a comparable landscape that continues in the Brussels panel, and use a similar colour range and technique. In addition, the figures are on the same scale. Both panels also have a false inscription with the letter “L” and the date “1511”. Bruyn suggested that The Temptations of Saint Anthony, the present panel and the above-mentioned painting of The Sermon in the Rijksmuseum were part of a single composition, an idea rejected by Boon. A drawing in the Prentenkabinet der Rijksuniversitat in Leiden of The Temptation and Death of Saint Anthonyhas been related to the Brussels panel.
In 1902 the present panel was in the collection of August Zeiss in Berlin. It was shown for the first time that year in an exhibition on Flemish Primitives at the Hotel Gruuthuse in Bruges. A year later it was recorded in the literature for the first time by Friedländer.