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Jacob van Oost the Elder, Portrait of a Boy aged 11

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Boy aged 11
Artist Jacob van Oost the Elder
Artist dates 1601 - 1671
Date made 1650
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 80.5 × 63 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1883
Inventory number NG1137
Location Room 20
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of a Boy aged 11
Jacob van Oost the Elder

The serious young boy in this portrait turns away from us to gaze into the distance. The artist has signed the picture but he hasn’t named the sitter. Only his age, 11 years old, and the date, 1660, are given. The boy is pale, but the deep brown background, the warm shade and delicate texture of his fur muff and the cloud of feathers in his hat keep the painting from being austere.

Jacob van Oost the Elder was one of the leading artists of seventeenth-century Bruges, much in demand for his sensitive portraits. He visited Rome early in his career and was influenced by Caravaggio’s use of chiaroscuro (strongly contrasted light and shade).

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