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Louis Tocqué, Portrait of a Man

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Man
Artist Louis Tocqué
Artist dates 1696 - 1772
Date made 1747
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 100.3 × 80 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Presented by E. Peter Jones, 1925
Inventory number NG4097
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of a Man
Louis Tocqué

We do not know the identity of the jovial-looking man in this half-length portrait, but Tocqué captures both his appearance and his psychology. He rests one hand on the back of a chair and the other on his hip as he turns to observe us with a smile.

The elaborate gold brocade waistcoat is a visual sign of the sitter’s social status and has been left mainly unbuttoned to show off his magnificent lace jabot. He may not have actually owned the waistcoat, however, as it also appears in other male portraits by Tocqué. The artist has emphasised the refinement of the fabrics with typically subtle brushstrokes, rendering the reflections of light on the lace, waistcoat and curtain braid.

Tocqué was one of the most sought-after Parisian portraitists in the later eighteenth century, especially for male sitters, and his work was compared by his contemporaries to that of Anthony Van Dyck.

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