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After Wallerant Vaillant, A Boy seated Drawing

Key facts
Full title A Boy seated Drawing
Artist After Wallerant Vaillant
Artist dates 1623 - 1677
Date made probably 18th century
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 127 × 99.5 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Mr and Mrs J.G. Lousada through the Art Fund to the Tate Gallery, 1921; transferred, 1922
Inventory number NG3591
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Boy seated Drawing
After Wallerant Vaillant

Despite the title, the boy is not drawing but studying a sketchbook – there’s no sign of drawing implements. In front of him is a cast of the Christ Child from Michelangelo’s statue of the Virgin and Child (Church of Our Lady, Bruges) and another book of sketches, but the drawing we see on the open page clearly does not represent the face of the cast. The artist reverses our normal expectations by suggesting that the cast is studying the young artist immersed in his book, rather than the other way around.

This picture is probably an early copy of a painting in the Louvre, Paris, attributed to Wallerant Vaillant (though the work has also been attributed to Jan Lievens). Vaillant, a portraitist who was born in Lille but died in Amsterdam, depicted young artists sketching casts several times.

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