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Workshop of Robert Campin, Portrait of a Franciscan (?)

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Franciscan (?)
Artist Workshop of Robert Campin
Artist dates 1378/9 - 1444
Date made before 1432
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 18.7 × 11.7 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1966
Inventory number NG6377
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of a Franciscan (?)
Workshop of Robert Campin

We don’t know who the sitter in this almost postcard-sized portrait is. Although he wears the grey habit of a Franciscan, his hair is not tonsured – shaved on top as a sign of humility – as was customary for them. The precise identity of the artist is also uncertain, although he seems to have been a member of Robert Campin’s workshop.

Frame and support are carved from a single piece of oak, from the same tree as The Virgin and Child in an Interior, also by Campin’s workshop (though these were not painted by the same artist). This is possibly one of the earliest surviving portraits where the sitter rests his fingers on the frame, which would become a conventional pose in Netherlandish painting.

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