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We do not know this man’s identity, although he was once thought to be the sixteenth-century theologian Martin Luther, who was a leading figure of the Protestant Reformation. This was once the left wing of a folding diptych or triptych (a painting of two or three parts respectively). There are remains of red paint on the reverse, which may have shown an object against a red background, perhaps a stone figure of a biblical character in a red marble niche.
The portrait has much in common with Bruges paintings of the 1520s. One artist in particular, known as the Master of the Holy Blood, tended to distort his faces in a similar way to that seen here – the large nose is almost in profile, while the face is in three-quarter view. It seems likely this painting is from his workshop.
We do not know this man’s identity, although he was once thought to be Martin Luther. He wears a white shirt, its collar embroidered with Xs and Os, with a purplish doublet over it. A brown garment, perhaps of fur, is tied across his chest. His black, fur-lined coat may have been overpainted; the background certainly was, but once may have shown parts of a building.
This was once the left wing of a folding diptych or triptych. There are remains of red paint on the reverse, which once may have shown an object against a red background, perhaps a stone figure of a biblical character in a red marble niche.
The portrait has much in common with Bruges paintings of the 1520s attributed to Jan Provoost, Albert Cornelis, Lancelot Blondeel and the Master of the Holy Blood. Because of its condition is it difficult to judge who painted it, but the the nose, seen almost in profile, sits strangely with the rest of the head, turned in three-quarter view. The Master of the Holy Blood in particular tended to distort his faces in a similar way, which makes it probable that is from his workshop.
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