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Italian, North, 'A Man holding an Armless Statuette', before 1640

Key facts
Full title A Man holding an Armless Statuette
Artist Italian, North
Date made before 1640
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 75.8 × 63.5 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by F.D. Lycett Green through the Art Fund, 1929
Inventory number NG4459
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Man holding an Armless Statuette
Italian, North

An ageing bearded man looks out of the painting, holding a statuette in his left hand. He is painted within an oval fictive stone frame and the statuette emerges from the painted space into our own, making the sitter seem all the more lifelike. The statuette indicates that the man represented here may be a sculptor or a collector – there are no other clues as to his identity.

The identity of the painter remains a mystery. The work entered the National Gallery’s collection as by the Genoese painter Bernardo Strozzi, an attribution that has been proposed again more recently. The picture is certainly Italian and has been associated with both Genoese and Venetian painters, on account of its loose brushwork and fluid handling of the paint.

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