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This small portrait is puzzling in many ways. We don‘t know who this man was or why he is holding a scroll, which is – rather strangely – inscribed on the outside. The painting’s tall, narrow shape is unusual and there are mysterious inscriptions carved into the very large, cracked stone parapet which runs across the front.
It is possible that it was painted after the sitter’s death, in which case the crumbling parapet might be an allusion to man’s mortality. His name might have been on the lost frame.
Oil on oak
H 33.3 x W 18.9 cm