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Portrait of a Man at Prayer with Saint John the Baptist
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Portrait of a Man at Prayer with Saint John the Baptist


Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Hugo van der Goes (active ca. 1440-1482) was one of the major portraitists of 15th-century Europe, at a time when portraiture gained importance under the impact of the new individualism fostered by humanism. A common type of portrait was the depiction of a man or woman in prayer, experiencing a vision, often of the Virgin. This small panel, cut down slightly at the top and bottom, was originally the right wing of a small altarpiece made of only two paintings, known as a diptych. The subject of the left wing would have been the Virgin and Child. It is to them that Saint John directs the praying donor's devotion. This unidentified donor (the person who donated or commissioned the work of art) is shown completely absorbed in the vision of the Virgin and Child. During this period, it was thought inappropriate to show strong emotion in public, but Hugo was very sensitive to the most subtle facial expression that give clues to a person's mental state. The man's deep concentration is wonderfully captured in his raised eyebrow and contracted muscles around the mouth.
Conservation
Date Description Narrative
2/10/1939Treatmentmounted; re-housed; loss compensation; coated; other
2/29/1960Treatmentcleaned; coated
2/29/1960Examinationexamined for exhibition; examined for loan
1/17/1961Examinationexamined for exhibition
2/25/1986Treatmentcoated; other
7/18/1986Examinationexamined for technical study
7/18/1986Examinationexamined for condition
8/22/1986Treatmentloss compensation; coated
10/01/1986Treatmentcleaned; loss compensation; coated
10/22/1988Technical Reportexamined for technical study
10/23/1988Examinationexamined for condition
10/28/1988Examinationexamined for technical study
3/01/2000Treatmentcleaned; coated
10/20/2009Loan Considerationexamined for loan
10/20/2009Examinationexamined for exhibition; examined for loan
4/01/2011Treatmentother
Exhibitions
  • Salute to Belgium. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1980.
  • The Taste of Maryland: Art Collecting in Maryland 1800-1934. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984.
  • Small Northern European Portraits from The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. National Gallery of Art, Washington. 2000.
  • Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001.
  • From Van Eyck to Dürer: Artistic Exchanges between the Netherlands and Centeral, Eastern and Northern Europe c. 1420-1530. Groeningemuseum, Brugge. 2010-2011.
Provenance P. A. Borger, Arnheim; Sale, Frederick Muller et Cie., Amsterdam, November 13, 1882, no. 16; L.(?) M. Leembruggen, Amsterdam [date of acquisition unknown], by purchase; Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 1903, by long-term loan; Sale, Frederick Muller et Cie., Amsterdam, April 13, 1920, no. 66; Private collection, New York (?); J. Seligmann and Co., Paris and New York [date of acquisition unknown], by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1920, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1920

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Period
ca. 1475 (Early Modern)
Medium
oil on panel, cut down at top and bottom
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
37.296
Measurements
H: 12 5/8 x W: 8 7/8 x D: 1/4 in. (32 x 22.5 x 0.6 cm)
Geographies

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