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Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Portrait of a Man

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Man
Artist Jean-Baptiste Greuze
Artist dates 1725 - 1805
Date made 1763
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 64.7 × 54.8 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1985
Inventory number NG6500
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of a Man
Jean-Baptiste Greuze

This middle-aged man regards us with a serious and thoughtful gaze. Greuze took great care painting his face, using a series of glazes to capture his slightly droopy eyes, barely parted lips, pink cheeks and light grey stubble. His blue velvet jacket is decorated with a gold trim and gold-coloured buttons. Greuze has painted the trim beautifully, using linear, parallel strokes of the brush.

About the time the picture was painted, Greuze became famous as a portraitist. Although we do not know the identity of the sitter, it has been proposed that he may be Comte Pierre de Lupé, whose portrait Greuze exhibited at the Salon in 1763, the same year that this picture was painted. It is also possible that he may be Louis, also comte de Lupé and marquis de Besmaux (1699–1774). Alternatively, he may be a Russian businessman from St Petersburg called Bacherach, whose portrait Greuze painted in 1763.

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