A Man

This portrait and the portrait of 'A Woman', presumably of a husband and wife, are a pair and were perhaps originally joined together as a diptych in a frame with hinges. The backs are marbled, which suggests that they were not intended to be hung against a wall.

The sitters may have been prosperous townspeople from Tournai, where Campin worked. They both wear fur-lined gowns; the man has a red head-dress made from a piece of red fabric wound round his head and the woman's head-dress consists of several thicknesses of white cloth held together with pins.

The heads of Campin's sitters occupy almost the entire surface of the painting. All the details of face and hat are evenly lit and clearly visible. Subtle variations of colour suggest the man's reddened skin and wrinkles. The graduated tones of the irises of his eyes give the impression of light glowing within. The woman's eyes sparkle: Campin has put catchlights in the whites so that they as well as the pupils shine.

Key facts

Artist dates
1378/9 - 1444
Full title
A Man
Date made
about 1435
Medium and support
Oil with egg tempera on oak
40.7 x 28.1 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1860
Inventory number
Location in Gallery

Other paintings in the group: A Man and a Woman

Robert Campin
about 1435
Robert Campin: 'A Woman'