Portrait of a Young Man

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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This picture raises all the questions usually prompted by an unidentified sitter: who is this person, where is he, how old is he? The dark background gives little information. He’s young, and his clothes suggest he’s well off, but there are no further clues to his identity. When this work entered the National Gallery’s collection in 1899, it was described as a self portrait of the Dutch artist Karel Dujardin, thanks in part to a signature on the left of the picture, level with the young man’s shoulder. However, this signature turned out to be false and was removed during conservation treatment in the early 1980s. It has since been suggested that the portrait is by a seventeenth-century French artist, but a firm attribution remains elusive.

The National Gallery, London



Portrait of a Young Man


about 1655


Oil on canvas


H 62 x W 52.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bought, 1899

Work type



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