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After Gustave Courbet, 'The Man with the Leather Belt: Portrait of the Artist', probably early 1880s

Key facts
Full title The Man with the Leather Belt: Portrait of the Artist
Artist After Gustave Courbet
Artist dates 1819 - 1877
Date made probably early 1880s
Medium and support Oil on board
Dimensions 45 × 37.8 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Sir Hugh Lane Bequest, 1917, The National Gallery, London. In partnership with Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin.
Inventory number NG3240
Location On loan: Long Loan to The Hugh Lane (2019 - 2031), Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin, Ireland
Collection Main Collection
The Man with the Leather Belt: Portrait of the Artist
After Gustave Courbet

From around 1842 and into the 1850s Courbet painted about 20 self portraits in which he presented himself in different guises. This portrait is a reduced version of The Man with the Leather Belt (Musée d’Orsay, Paris), which Courbet painted around 1845–6.

Courbet painted replicas of at least three of his self portraits and it was previously thought that he also painted this version of The Man with the Leather Belt. However, although this portrait is close in almost all details to the original, there are major differences between them. In particular, unlike the very finely painted Orsay picture, the brushwork is more cursory and less detailed.

Recent research into the picture’s support and a label on the back also suggests that the painting dates from the early 1880s, and therefore could not have been painted by Courbet himself, who died in 1877. It is instead a copy by someone who had an excellent understanding of the original.

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