A Benedictine Monk

Artist: Hugo van der Goes (Netherlandish, Ghent, active by 1467–died 1482 Rood-Klooster)

Date: ca. 1478

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: Overall 9 7/8 x 7 3/8 in. (25.1 x 18.7 cm), with added strip of 3/4 in. (1.9 cm) at right

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: The Bequest of Michael Dreicer, 1921

Accession Number: 22.60.53


This man’s robe and tonsured hair indicate that he is a Benedictine, but whether this is a portrait of a contemporary monk or an image of a saint is not clear. The panel was cut from a larger image, and unlike some of the donor portraits on display, this sitter gazes downward, creating a more contemplative mood. His attenuated head, the sensitive modeling of his features, and the meditative expression are characteristic of Hugo van der Goes’s late work.