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Head of a Man in Blue
Style of Giacomo Francesco Cipper

A man looks out at us with his shirt opened to reveal his neck, disfigured by a goitre (a swelling caused by an enlarged thyroid gland). Despite suffering this medical condition, he has an amused expression and the artist has portrayed him sympathetically. He is evidently poor, as can be seen by his ragged clothes – the blue jacket he wears has been roughly stitched at the seams.

This painting’s style and subject matter are closely dependent on Giacomo Francesco Cipper, an artist active in Lombardy in the early eighteenth century. The artist has applied thick brushstrokes (for example, on the man’s temple) and has left the reddish-brown ground exposed to form the shadows in the darker areas (for example, around his eyes). The animated brushwork gives movement and life to the figure, as does his off-centre pose.

This characterful portrait is a pair to Head of a Man in Red, also in our collection.

Key facts
Artist Style of Giacomo Francesco Cipper
Artist dates 1664 - 1736
Full title Head of a Man in Blue
Group Two Expressive Heads
Date made probably 1700-50
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 47 x 36.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Maurice Woolff Jacobson, 1944
Inventory number NG5468
Location in Gallery Not on display
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Two Expressive Heads

These two paintings were made as pendants, or companion pieces, and would have hung next to each other.