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11 août 2016

Attributed to Gonzales Coques, Portrait of a man, full-length, handing a letter to a boy, in an interior (The Young Messenger)

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Attributed to Gonzales Coques (Flemish, Antwerp 1614/18–1684 Antwerp), Portrait of a man, full-length, handing a letter to a boy, in an interior (The Young Messenger)maybe 1640s. Oil on panel, 22 × 17 3/8 in. (55.9 × 44.1 cm). Orsay Collection, Belgium.

This intriguing panel, part portrait and part genre painting, was possibly painted by Coques, who specialized in small-scale, finely worked portraits and family groups. Its unfinished state gives us a glimpse into a practice that may have been shared by other Dutch artists in which the artist painted the heads and objects in a room—here the closely observed velvet-covered armchair and the implements related to the task of writing—while leaving the men’s clothing at the level of underdrawing. Perhaps at this point a studio assistant would have taken up the painting. 

This work is exhibited in the "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Invisible" exhibition, on view through September 4th, 2016. #MetBreuer

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