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Jacques-Antoine Vallin, Dr Forlenze

Key facts
Full title Dr Forlenze
Artist Jacques-Antoine Vallin
Artist dates about 1760 - about 1835
Date made 1807
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 209.6 × 128.3 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Presented by Frédéric Mélé, 1908
Inventory number NG2288
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Dr Forlenze
Jacques-Antoine Vallin

Born into a family of physicians in Picerno, then in the Kingdom of Naples, Joseph-Nicolas-Blaise Forlenze (1751–1833) was a pioneering ophthalmologist and surgeon based in Paris, where this near life-size portrait of him was exhibited at the Salon of 1808.

Fashionably dressed in a long-tailed black coat and wearing aristocratic knee-breeches, Dr Forlenze stands before Mount Vesuvius, which rises over the Bay of Naples. The lighthouse on the right may be on the Molo (dock) in Naples. In front of it, there is a fountain topped with a statue of Saint Januarius, the patron saint of Naples.

Facing us directly, Dr Forlenze displays the orders and decorations of the Légion d'Honneur and the Order of St Michel. He became a member of these orders after 1807. His head and shoulders, including the decorations on the lapel, were painted on a small canvas that was subsequently fitted into the full-length portrait.

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