The Frankfurt merchant Johann II von Melem (ca. 1455–1529) was an alderman for several years before becoming deputy mayor in 1516. Through his second marriage in 1484 to Gertrud (Druitgen) Rinck he became connected to one of the most important merchant families in Cologne. His tomb is in Frankfurt Cathedral. Due to a misreading of the inscription this painting was long considered a self-portrait by the artist von Melem, to whom many works were ascribed in the nineteenth century.