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Jan Gossaert (Jean Gossart), Man with a Rosary

Key facts
Full title Man with a Rosary
Artist Jan Gossaert (Jean Gossart)
Artist dates active 1508; died 1532
Date made about 1525-30
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 69 × 49.1 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1860
Inventory number NG656
Location Room 27
Collection Main Collection
Man with a Rosary
Jan Gossaert (Jean Gossart)

A dark-haired man gazes to his right in a picture that must once have formed the right wing of a diptych or triptych (a painting made up of two or three parts respectively). He has not joined his hands in prayer, but his right is placed on his heart and he holds a rosary: he is clearly at his devotions.

We don't know who the sitter is. Only his clothing, which is unusual but may have been official dress of some kind, gives any indication of his identity. In the underdrawing, the line of the chin is drawn well inside its painted contour; Gossart was perhaps trying to flatter his sitter, who evidently had a large nose and a receding chin.

At least four versions are known of a Virgin and Child in the style of Gossart – they are probably copies of the lost left wing of the diptych or triptych of which this painting was a part.

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