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Flemish, Portrait of a Man

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Man
Artist Flemish
Date made 1636
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 136.2 × 102.2 cm
Inscription summary Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1945
Inventory number NG5631
Location Room 20
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of a Man

An unidentified young man looks out at us with a direct gaze. Painted by an unknown artist, he is shown leaning against a stone archway covered with a swathe of white satin curtain. His expensive lace collar and cuffs are well displayed. His youth is emphasised by his sparse moustache and wisp of a beard, and the brim of an enormous hat encircles his long, pale face. He holds leather gloves – an expensive luxury – in one hand; with the other, he gestures as if inviting us in towards him.

Beside the young man is a stone relief that shows one cupid, his arrow raised to strike a second, blindfolded cupid. The scene symbolises the triumph of ‘Divine Love’ over ‘Earthly Love’ and makes it likely that the portrait was painted to celebrate the sitter’s betrothal or marriage.

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