17th-Century Continental School

Portrait of a Dominican Monk

17th-Century Continental School

Portrait of a Dominican Monk

This 17th-century continental oil painting depicts a monk of the Dominican Order.

It’s remarkable that after 300 years, this portrait of an unknown monk still exists. Its provenance has been lost to time but it’s plausible that it once hung in a monastery somewhere in continental Europe. Due to its dark nature, the outfit is tricky to decipher but he’s possibly wearing a black cloak over a white habit, which could mean that he’s part of the Dominican Order. Founded in 13th-century France, the Dominicans are Roman Catholic and revolutionised religion during the high Middle Ages.

We acquired the portrait in Oxford and how it ended up in England is a mystery. At some point in its long life, it was removed from its original stretcher, cut down to an oval, perhaps for travel or storage, and then restretched/relined in the late 20th century. One can imagine that it could have been in a French chateau before being discovered in a provincial antique shop and imported.

Held in a later frame.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 22” x 25½” / 56cm x 65cm
Year of creation: c. 1680
Labels & Inscriptions: Yellow chalk marks on the reverse, which probably relate to an auction. Sotheby’s is known to have used yellow chalk.
Provenance: Private collection, England.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Craquelure but the paint is stable. Canvas cut down and relined. Historic restorations. Frame with some light wear.

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