A blind man accompanied by a young girl sits outside a church. Through the doorway can be seen a crucifix lit by a lamp. An old woman comes out, clutching her prayer book and the old man himself is fingering the beads of a rosary. The subject has echoes of Jacques-Louis David's famous painting of Belisarius, the blind general begging for alms (Salon of 1781, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille). This picture is the artist's second version of a painting of 1852 which is now in the Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp. It was extremely popular in the 19th century, and much copied after it had entered the Gallery's collection.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1811 - 1888
Full title
The Blind Beggar
Date made
1853
Medium and support
Oil on mahogany
Dimensions
50.3 x 46.5 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit
Bequeathed by Miss J. Clarke, 1859
Inventory number
NG600
Location in Gallery