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Portrait of a Man
Flemish
/

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.

Key facts
Artist Flemish
Full title Portrait of a Man
Date made 1636
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 136.2 x 102.2 cm
Inscription summary Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1945
Inventory number NG5631
Location in Gallery Room 21
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