Christus places his sitter in the corner of a warmly illuminated room and enhances the quality of his "real" presence by the fly resting momentarily on the fictive frame. The leading painter of Bruges following Jan van Eyck's death in 1441, Christus moves beyond the flat neutral backgrounds of his predecessor's portraits. The illusionistic inscription underscores the verisimilitude of the portrait, declaring: "Petrus Christus made me in the year 1446."
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Fig. 1. Petrus Christus, "Portrait of Edward Grymeston," 1446, oil on oak, 14 1/8 x 10 5/8 in. (36 x 27 cm) (National Gallery, London, on loan from the Earl of Verulam, Gorhambury)
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Fig. 2. Jan van Eyck, "Portrait of Jan de Leeuw," 1436, oil on oak, 13 1/8 x 10 7/8 in. (33.3 x 27.5 cm) (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)
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Fig. 3. Petrus Christus, "Portrait of a Man with a Falcon," ca. 1445–50, silverpoint on ivory prepared paper, 7 1/8 x 5 5/8 in. (18.1 x 14.3 cm) (Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Graphische Sammlung, Frankfurt am Main)
Fig. 4. Infrared reflectogram of 49.7.19
Fig. 5. Photomicrograph of 49.7.19, detail of Carthusian's eye showing handling of highlights, 4.73x magnification
Fig. 6. Photomicrograph of Petrus Christus, "The Lamentation" (91.26.12), detail of Joseph’s eye showing handling of highlights, 6x magnification
Fig. 7. X-radiograph of 49.7.19
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Title:Portrait of a Carthusian
Artist:Petrus Christus (Netherlandish, Baarle-Hertog (Baerle-Duc), active by 1444–died 1475/76 Bruges)
Medium:Oil on wood
Dimensions:Overall 11 1/2 x 8 1/2 in. (29.2 x 21.6 cm); painted surface 11 1/2 x 7 3/8 in. (29.2 x 18.7 cm)
The Subject and Function of the Painting: This remarkably lifelike portrayal is rendered in astonishing detail, including the sitter’s intense gaze, prominent nose and sensitive mouth, his wiry beard, the bulging veins at his temple, and even a slight facial protuberance to the left of his lips. The man is slightly obliquely posed in three-quarter bust-length, inhabiting the corner of a room. He appears behind a trompe-l’oeil frame of red jasper on the sill and green porphyry on the remaining sides. This serves as a fictive window through which the man directly addresses the viewer. Although his specific identity remains unknown, he must have been a lay brother or converse in the Carthusian Order (Scholtens 1960), most likely associated with the former monastery at Genadedal, just outside the city walls of Bruges. Instead of the white scapular worn over the robes of monks, this man wears a hooded white robe. Also contrary to the standard practices of the monks, he is not tonsured, and, although shaved above the lips, is bearded.
At some unknown point, a halo was inscribed around the sitter’s head into the dry paint with a compass and then painted gold. This may have been intended to convert the man, who perhaps with subsequent ownership of the painting had lost his identity, into Saint Bruno of Cologne (ca. 1030–1101), the founder of the Carthusian Order, or Saint Denis or Dionysius of Louvain (1402–1471), the Carthusian theologian. This suspect and crudely painted modern addition was doubted as early as 1916 by Max J. Friedländer (see Ref.), and was carefully removed in 1992 (Sonnenburg 1995, pp. 184–85; Ainsworth 2005), thus re-establishing the original and—for its time—innovative spatial relationship between the sitter and his setting. Two nineteenth-century copies of the portrait formerly in Valencia—one with and one without the halo—indicate that the painting must have found its way to Spain previous to that time (see Provenance and Ainsworth 1994, p. 95 n.14).
This Carthusian lay brother is not shown in the act of praying, as are most fifteenth-century portraits of members of religious orders. Instead, he is portrayed with a self-confident demeanor as an independent portrait. Perhaps the painting was commissioned to commemorate the entrance of the man into the Carthusian Order, and to serve as a reminder of his presence for his family, even though he was absent from their daily life. In this context, the realistically-rendered fly on the frame sill takes on meaning. Not simply an expression of the painter’s virtuosity, this fly represents death and decay, and therefore is a reminder of the transience of life. It has also been considered a talisman against evil, and thus would have served an apotropaic function for the pious Carthusian. Alternatively, the fly, or vlieg in Flemish, may have stood for the common Flemish patronym De Vliegher, an intriguing suggestion that cannot as yet be corroborated by any known archival sources concerning Carthusian monks at the time (Capron 2018, p. 31).
Attribution and Date: There has never been any challenge to the authorship of this portrait, which is signed on the lower edge of the trompe-l’oeil frame in the artist’s usual manner: PETRUS XPI ME FECIT (Petrus Christus made me) and the date 1446 (Ainsworth 1994, pp. 27–33). The Carthusian as well as the Portrait of Edward Grymeston (National Gallery, London; see fig. 1 above) are Christus’s earliest signed and dated works, and his most Eyckian ones. The composition and the verisimilitude of the portrait closely follow the conventions of portraiture established by Christus’s renowned predecessor in Bruges, Jan van Eyck, as in the latter’s Portrait of Jan de Leeuw of 1436 (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; fig. 2). Like Van Eyck, Christus posed the sitter in a three-quarter bust-length view, and directed his gaze toward the observer through a trompe-l’oeil window of communication. But Christus improved on his predecessor’s model by heightening the illusion of space in two ways. Instead of the plain dark background previously favored, Christus placed the Carthusian within the corner space of a room with its own interior lighting. Erwin Panofsky, in fact, called Christus the inventor of corner-space portraits (Panofsky 1953, vol. 1, p. 310). The trompe-l’oeil fly, perched on the edge of the windowsill and seemingly ready to take flight either into or out of the implied space, enhances this illusion.
The date of 1446 appears to have been squeezed in at the lower right as an afterthought, and it is not “incised” into the trompe-l’oeil stone frame as are the letters of the artist’s name (see Technical Notes). The date was possibly copied from an original, now lost, frame, which may also have displayed the identity of the sitter. By comparison with other Christus works the date must be correct. The closest parallels for the Carthusian are a painting and a drawing by Christus: the Portrait of Edward Grymeston of 1446 (fig. 1), and the Portrait of a Nobleman with a Falcon of about 1445–50 (Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Graphische Sammlung, Frankfurt; fig. 3). Like the Carthusian, both show close-up and tightly-cropped views of male sitters within a corner room. Furthermore, infrared reflectography (fig. 4) and a mylar sheet tracing of the contours of the Grymeston portrait placed over the Carthusian reveal that the initial version of the Carthusian’s head was the same size as the Grymeston head, with their individual facial features matching. A common template was likely used in order to ensure the correct size and placement of the head within the planned space. In the upper paint layers, Christus made further adjustments to the position and size of the head of the Carthusian. He lavished attention not only on the underdrawing but especially on the final surface details that brought the image to life (see Ainsworth 1994, p. 94, and Technical Notes), suggesting that the artist perhaps personally knew the man, who may have been patient for multiple sittings. By contrast, the Grymeston portrait, though not in as good condition, shows little or no underdrawing and an abbreviated execution that supports the notion that Grymeston as a foreigner was only briefly in Bruges, having been sent by Henry VI as an envoy to the Burgundian court. In this case, a quick rendering on paper may have been Christus’s only reference for the official portrait of a man occupied with official business.
Maryan W. Ainsworth 2018
 A. Pigler, “La Mouche peinte: Un Talisman,” Bulletin du Musée Hongrois des Beaux-Arts, no. 24 (1964), pp. 47–64.
Support: The support was constructed from a single board of oak from the Baltic/Polish region, oriented vertically. Dendrochronological analysis indicated an earliest possible creation date of 1426 with a more plausible date of 1432 onwards. The original panel, which has been planed and cradled, measures 3/8 inch (0.5 cm) thick. There is a barbe around all four edges, indicating that the original dimensions are preserved. Wood margins on left and right, originally unpainted but later painted black, are slightly above the plane of the picture suggesting that the panel had an integral frame that was cut off. The top and bottom edges of the panel were trimmed right up to but not disturbing the barbe.
Preparation: The panel was prepared with a white ground. Examination with infrared reflectography revealed that the portrait was underdrawn with a liquid medium and what appears to be a brush (see fig. 4 above). The medium is fairly dilute and broader strokes occasionally blend together, for example at the proper right shoulder. There is also some finer shading using parallel lines in the face, comparable to the underdrawing observed in The Lamentation (91.26.12).
Paint Layers: The astonishing naturalism of this portrait is due in part to a careful description of details, from the lines in the forehead and flecks in the iris to the fly on the sill. The beard is an intricate tangle of individual paint strokes, with some curls actually incised into the wet brown paint using a blunt point. Comparison of the painting technique with The Met’s Lamentation is revealing. Christus created the eyes in a similar manner in both paintings, including final highlights applied with thick, white paint in two parallel dashes: on the white of the eye and on the iris (figs. 5–6). However, it is clear that the relatively larger composition allowed Christus space to bring even greater detail to the portrait, limning every eyelash and adding incredible depth to the irises.
The x-radiograph (fig. 7) sheds further light on Christus’s painting technique. He first laid in the shape of the face with broad strokes of a light paint; the radiopaque buildup is evident at the contours. There is some lead white around the eyes but little elsewhere, suggesting that he principally relied on this light underpaint to establish the lightest passages and did not need to apply further highlights, only adding darker glazes for modeling. He did use a grey tone to create the deepest shadows in the face, as can be seen beneath the nose and in the right cheek and temple.
Christus made several adjustments to the composition as he worked out the relationship of the figure with the fictive space and the viewer’s space. Departing from the underdrawing he shifted the sitter’s ear and proper right contour, repositioned his proper left eye and decreased the bulk of the hair. He changed the position of the hood, the folds of drapery at the sleeves and made minor adjustments to contours. In some passages, he initially followed the underdrawing and then altered his composition during the course of painting. For example, he simplified the folds of the hood and shifted the nose; there is a tiny pentiment at the end of the nose apparent as a sliver of brighter paint. Christus painted the portrait before adding the fictive frame; the x-radiograph confirms that the robe continues underneath the frame. There are incisions establishing the left, right, and lower sight edges of the fictive frame, but these were likely added after the portrait was begun and the paint still wet, as the incisions appear to interrupt the white paint of the robe on the right side. While this could suggest that Christus did not intend to include the frame from the beginning, it is also possible that he intentionally painted the figure to the edges before adding the frame, to heighten the sense of verisimilitude. The artist also made the red-walled room a convincing space with cleverly cast shadows of a deeper red glaze that he then blended by tamping with what appears to be fabric.
A 1992 study confirmed earlier suspicions that a gold halo present at that time was not original. This halo, made with gold paint on top of a rather crude incision, was removed (Sonnenburg 1995, pp. 184–85; Ainsworth 2005, pp. 51–52). The incision is still evident in a raking light.
The date on the frame, added in smaller numbers to the far right, appears to be a later addition. The numbers, smaller and wedged to the far right, lack the highlights that make the rest of the signature appear to be incised into the red stone. The handling appears slightly cruder, but this could be due to the relatively smaller size of the numbers.
There is some rubbing in the browns and blacks and in the fly. Otherwise, the painting remains in very good condition.
Sophie Scully 2018
 Wood identification and dendrochronological analysis completed by Dr. Peter Klein, Universität Hamburg, report dated May 12, 1997. The report can be found in the files of the Department of Paintings Conservation. “The youngest heartwood ring was formed out in the year 1415. Regarding the sapwood statistic of Eastern Europe an earliest felling date can be derived for the year 1424, more plausible is a felling date between 1428..1430….1434 + x. With a minimum of 2 years for seasoning an earliest creation of the painting is possible from 1426 upwards. Under the assumption of a median of 15 sapwood rings and 2 years for seasoning, as probably usual in the 14th/15th century, a creation is plausible from 1432 upwards.”  Infrared reflectography completed with an OSIRIS InGaAs near-infrared camera with a 6-element, 150 mm focal length f/5.6–f/45 lens; 900-1700 nm spectral response, captured by Evan Read, July 2018.  See Burroughs 1938, p. 249. According to Burroughs, the date was “added in a different pigment at the corner of the frame,” but he does not give further details. The pigments have not been analyzed recently.
Inscription: Signed and dated (bottom, on simulated frame): ·PETRVS·XPI·ME·FECIT·Ao·1446· (Petrus Christus made me in the year 1446)
Ramon de Oms (Ramon de la Cruz), Viceroy of Majorca (in 1911); Marqués de Dos Aguas, Valencia (by 1916–at least 1924); [Sulley and Co., London, by 1926–27]; [Knoedler, London and New York, 1927; sold for $80,000 to Bache]; Jules S. Bache, New York (1927–d. 1944; his estate, 1944–49; cats., 1929, unnumbered; 1937, no. 20; 1943, no. 19)
Valencia. location unknown. "Exposición Nacional de Valencia, Seccion de Arte retrospectivo," 1910, no. 1076.
London. Burlington House. "Flemish & Belgian Art: 1300–1900," 1927, no. 16 (as "Portrait of a Carthusian[?]," lent anonymously).
New York. M. Knoedler & Co. "A Loan Exhibition of Twelve Masterpieces of Painting," April 16–28, 1928, no. 1 (lent by Jules S. Bache).
New York. F. Kleinberger Galleries. "Flemish Primitives," 1929, no. 4 (as "Portrait of a Carthusian Saint").
New York. M. Knoedler & Co. "Fifteenth Century Portraits," April 15–27, 1935, no. 2 (as "Portrait of Denys Le Chartreux," by Petrus Christus, lent by Jules S. Bache, Esq.).
Princeton University. "Exhibition of Belgian Medieval Art," June 17–23, 1937, no. 6 (as "Dionysius the Carthusian(?)," lent by The Jules Bache Foundation).
New York. World's Fair. "Masterpieces of Art: European Paintings and Sculpture from 1300–1800," May–October 1939, no. 40.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art Treasures of the Metropolitan," November 7, 1952–September 7, 1953, no. 93 (as "Portrait of a Carthusian").
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Masterpieces of Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 16–November 1, 1970, unnumbered cat. (p. 35).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Painter's Light," October 5–November 10, 1971, no. 1.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges," April 14–July 31, 1994, no. 5.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 22, 1998–February 21, 1999, no. 21.
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Deceptions and Illusions: Five Centuries of Trompe l'Oeil Painting," October 13, 2002–March 2, 2003, no. 24.
New York. Frick Collection. "The Charterhouse of Bruges: Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus, and Jan Vos," September 18, 2018–January 13, 2019, no. 4 (as "Portrait of a Carthusian Lay Brother").
Ricardo Agrasot. "La civilización actual y las artes." Museum 1 (1911), ill. p. 14, as in the collection of Don Ramón de Oms, viceroy of Majorca.
Walter Cohen inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Ulrich Thieme. Vol. 8, Leipzig, 1913, p. 125.
Max J. Friedländer. Von Eyck bis Bruegel: Studien zur Geschichte der Niederländischen Malerei. Berlin, 1916, p. 21, pl. 3, calls it "Portrait of a Monk," the earliest work by Petrus Christus successfully carried out in the Van Eyck style; thinks the halo was probably a later addition.
Martin Conway. The Van Eycks and Their Followers. London, 1921, pp. 108–9.
Max J. Friedländer. Die altniederländische Malerei. Vol. 1, Die Van Eyck, Petrus Christus. Berlin, 1924, pp. 145–46, pl. 50, finds it similar to the portrait of Edward Grimston (National Gallery, London, on loan from the Earl of Verulam), painted in the same year, but in a printing error gives the date on our painting as 1466.
Willy Burger. Die Malerei in den Niederlanden 1400–1550. Munich, 1925, p. 36.
Louis Demonts. "L'Exposition d'art flamand à la Royal Academy de Londres." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 15 (1927), p. 260, ill.
Ludwig Baldass. "Die Niederländer des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts auf der Ausstellung flämischer Kunst in London." Belvedere 11 (September 1927), p. 82.
Roger Fry. "Flemish Art at Burlington House: I—The Primitives." Burlington Magazine 1 (1927), p. 62, pl. 3A.
Roger Fry. Flemish Art: A Critical Survey. New York, 1927, p. 23, fig. 11.
Tancred Borenius inCatalogue of the Loan Exhibition of Flemish & Belgian Art: A Memorial Volume. Ed. Martin Conway. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. London, 1927, p. 10, no. 16, pl. 12, as "Portrait of a Carthusian Saint".
Mary Logan Berenson. Letter to Duveen Bros. March 4, 1927, states that B. B. [Bernard Berenson] is "very much upset at not being able to follow Dr. Friedländer . . . but that fine 'Petrus Christus' portrait is certainly not Italian, whatever else it may be".
Friedrich Winkler. "Die flämisch-belgische Ausstellung in London." Der Kunstwanderer (February 1927), p. 221.
Malcolm Vaughan. "Paintings by Petrus Christus in America (part 1)." International Studio 89 (January 1928), pp. 29–31, ill.
Tancred Borenius. "A Loan Exhibition in New York." Apollo 7 (1928), pp. 212–13, ill.
A. H. "Review of Knoedler exhibition." Pantheon 1 (May 1928), p. 270, ill.
Franz Dülberg. Niederländische Malerei der Spätgotik und Renaissance. Potsdam, 1929, p. 31.
Walter Heil. "The Jules Bache Collection." Art News 27 (April 27, 1929), p. 4.
Belvedere 8 (1929), ill. opp. p. 465 (pl. 41).
A Catalogue of Paintings in the Collection of Jules S. Bache. New York, 1929, unpaginated, ill., as "Dionysius the Carthusian(?)"; gives short biography of Dionysius (Denys van Leeuwen, 1402–1471).
Esther Singleton. Old World Masters in New World Collections. New York, 1929, pp. 169–72, ill.
August L. Mayer. "Die Sammlung Jules Bache in New-York." Pantheon 6 (December 1930), p. 542.
Sidney P. Noe. "Flemish Primitives in New York." American Magazine of Art 21 (January 1930), p. 34.
Royal Cortissoz. "The Jules S. Bache Collection." American Magazine of Art 21 (May 1930), p. 258, ill. p. 246.
A. H. Cornette. La Peinture à l'Exposition d'Art flamand ancien à Anvers. Exh. cat., location unknown, Antwerp. Brussels, 1930, p. 5, pl. 3, as "Portrait de Denys le Chartreux".
H. Fritsch Estrangin. "The Great Exhibition of Flemish Art at Antwerp." American Magazine of Art 21 (1930), p. 565.
Paul Lambotte. "The Belgian Centenary: The 'Centennale' at Brussels and the Exhibition of Flemish Art at Antwerp." Apollo 12 (1930), p. 18, ill. p. 16.
Alfred M. Frankfurter. "Thirty-Five Portraits from American Collections." Art News 29, no. 33 (May 16, 1931), p. 4, ill.
Pierre Bautier in location unknown, Antwerp. Trésor de l'art flamand du moyen age au XVIIIme siècle: Mémorial de l'exposition d'art flamand ancien à Anvers 1930. Paris, 1932, vol. 1, pp. 33–34, 104–5, no. 66, pl. 3, fig. 4, as "Portrait de Denis le Chartreux".
Arthur Cornette in location unknown, Antwerp. Trésor de l'art flamand du moyen age au XVIIIme siècle: Mémorial de l'exposition d'art flamand ancien à Anvers 1930. Paris, 1932, p. 19.
Hans Tietze. Meisterwerke europäischer Malerei in Amerika. Vienna, 1935, p. 333, pl. 124 [English ed., "Masterpieces of European Painting in America," New York, 1939, p. 317, pl. 124], lists it incorrectly as dated 1466.
Erwin Panofsky. "The Friedsam Annunciation and the Problem of the Ghent Altarpiece." Art Bulletin 17 (December 1935), pp. 433–34 n. 4.
J[acques]. Lavalleye in "De vlaamsche schilderkunst tot ongeveer 1480." Geschiedenis van de vlaamsche kunst. Ed. Stan Leurs. Antwerp, 1936, p. 183.
Max J. Friedländer. Die altniederländische Malerei. Vol. 14, Pieter Bruegel und Nachträge zu den früheren Bänden. Leiden, 1937, p. 79, corrects the date to 1446.
A Catalogue of Paintings in the Bache Collection. under revision. New York, 1937, unpaginated, no. 20, ill., as "Dionysius the Carthusian(?)".
Alan Burroughs. Art Criticism from a Laboratory. Boston, 1938, pp. 249–50, rejects the date 1446, observing that it is "strangely added in a different pigment" and finding the style not appropriate to this date.
Wolfgang Schöne. Dieric Bouts und seine Schule. Berlin, 1938, p. 56, no. 4, lists it with the works of Christus, but with a note that he has not seen the painting.
Regina Shoolman and Charles E. Slatkin. The Enjoyment of Art in America. Philadelphia, 1942, p. 396, pl. 353.
Harry B. Wehle. "The Bache Collection on Loan." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 1 (June 1943), p. 288, ill. p. 289.
A Catalogue of Paintings in the Bache Collection. rev. ed. New York, 1943, unpaginated, no. 19, ill.
Roberta M. Fansler and Margaret R. Scherer. Painting in Flanders. New York, 1945, pp. 8–9, ill.
Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta Salinger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Early Flemish, Dutch and German Paintings. New York, 1947, pp. 17–19, ill., catalogue it as "Portrait of a Carthusian," observing that the grounds for identifying it with Dionysius are not convincing.
Letter to Margaretta Salinger. November 22, 1950, notes in connection with the halo that Dionysius was never considered a saint or formally canonized, and suggests that the artist may have portrayed the founder of the order, Saint Bruno, "under the guise of a suitable model".
Art Treasures of the Metropolitan: A Selection from the European and Asiatic Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1952, p. 266, no. 93, colorpl. 93.
J. V. L. Brans. Isabel la Católica y el arte hispano-flamenco. Madrid, 1952, p. 42.
Germain Bazin. "Petrus Christus et les rapports entre l'Italie et la Flandre au milieu du XVe siècle." Revue des arts 4 (December 1952), pp. 199, 202 n. 38, p. 203 n. 40, p. 208, sees the influence of Antonello in this portrait; notes that it and three other paintings by Christus are, or were at one time, in Spanish collections, suggesting that the artist may have visited Spain; gives date incorrectly as 1466.
Erwin Panofsky. Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character. Cambridge, Mass., 1953, vol. 1, pp. 188, 310, 312, 488–89 n. 5 (to p. 310); vol. 2, pl. 252, fig. 405, for "stylistic reasons" considers the halo probably not original, and suggests that if it is authentic the sitter was cast in the role of Saint Bruno; discusses the possible significance of the fly and observes that the illusionistic use of such an insect can be traced back to classical antiquity.
Leo van Puyvelde. La peinture flamande au siècle des van Eyck. Paris, 1953, pp. 187–88.
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 18.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), p. 2, ill. p. 12.
Julius S. Held. "Erwin Panofsky, 'Early Netherlandish Painting, Its Origin[s] and Character'." Art Bulletin 37 (September 1955), p. 229.
Josua Bruyn. Van Eyck problemen. Utrecht, 1957, p. 7 n. 4 (continued from p. 6), p. 101.
Erik Larsen. Les primitifs flamands au Musée Metropolitain de New York. Utrecht, 1960, pp. 41, 110, fig. 5, as the presumed portrait of "Moine Denis".
R. H. Wilenski. Flemish Painters, 1430–1830. New York, 1960, vol. 1, pp. 12, 25; vol. 2, pl. 31.
H. J. J. Scholtens. "Petrus Christus en zijn portret van een kartuizer." Oud-Holland 75 (1960), pp. 59–72, states that the hair and beard identify the sitter as a Carthusian lay brother not a monk, probably a member of the Dal van Graciën monastery outside Bruges; comments that, as no Carthusian lay brothers became saints, the halo is probably a later addition, possibly to give the portrait a more pious appearance but not to transform it into a portrait of Saint Bruno; observes that the fly was added to enliven the composition and as a symbol of evil and uncleanness.
John Rowlands. "A Man of Sorrows by Petrus Christus." Burlington Magazine 104 (October 1962), p. 420.
Jacqueline Folie. "Les oeuvres authentifiées des primitifs flamands." Institut Royal du Patrimoine Artistique Bulletin 6 (1963), p. 204, fig. 13.
André Pigler. "La mouche peinte: Un talisman." Bulletin du Musée Hongrois des Beaux-Arts no. 24 (1964), pp. 47, 51, fig. 34, observes that the fly on the wall in this picture seems to be the earliest example of a trompe l'oeil insect, and suggests that such painted flies served as talismans.
Max J. Friedländer et al. Early Netherlandish Painting. Vol. 1, The van Eycks—Petrus Christus. New York, 1967, pp. 82, 95, 104, 110 n. 52, pl. 74.
Charles D. Cuttler. Northern Painting from Pucelle to Bruegel. New York, 1968, pp. 130–31, fig. 152.
Edwin Hall. "Cardinal Albergati, St. Jerome and the Detroit Van Eyck." Art Quarterly 31, no. 1 (1968), p. 32 n. 19.
Lola B. Gellman. "The 'Death of the Virgin' by Petrus Christus: An Altar-piece Reconstructed." Burlington Magazine 112 (March 1970), p. 148 n. 12.
Lola B. Malkis Gellman. "Petrus Christus." PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, 1970, pp. 9, 40, 49, 51, 53, 64, 67, 74–81, 86, 91, 271–72, 312 nn. 16–17, p. 313 nn. 18–19, p. 314 n. 26, pp. 380–82, 512, no. 2, fig. 6.
Zsuzsa Urbach. "Charles D. Cuttler, Northern Painting from Pucelle to Bruegel, 1968." Acta Historiae Artium 17 (1971), pp. 136–37.
Charles Sterling. "Observations on Petrus Christus." Art Bulletin 53 (March 1971), pp. 18–19, fig. 32.
Joel M. Upton. "Petrus Christus." PhD diss., Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pa., 1972, pp. 56, 74–77, 80–81, 105, 109, 122 nn. 32, 34, 37, pp. 327, 332, 336, 363–67, 370–71, 376, no. 20, fig. 20.
Gustav Künstler. "Vom entstehen des Einzelbildnisses und seiner frühen Entwicklung in der flämischen Malerei." Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 27 (1974), pp. 50–55, fig. 20, feels that the role of the halo in the composition suggests that it may be original; supports the identification of the sitter with Dionysius; believes that the fly represents the devil.
Peter H. Schabacker. Petrus Christus. Utrecht, 1974, pp. 23–25, 33, 43, 48, 73, 81–83, 128, 130, no. 3, fig. 3, repeats Scholtens's [see Ref. 1960] observations about the identity of the sitter and agrees that the halo is probably a later addition; suggests that the sitter was one of the converses at the monastery of Genadedal near Bruges; calls it the only known formal portrait of a monk prior to Gossart's Benedictine monk of 1526 (Musée du Louvre, Paris).
V. Denis. La peinture flamande 15e–16e–17e siècles. Brussels, 1976, p. 47, notes that the halo seems to be a later addtion.
Colin Eisler. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Vol. 4, European Schools Excluding Italian. London, 1977, pp. 51–53.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 188, 199, 205, fig. 363.
Elisa Bermejo. La pintura de los primitivos flamencos en España. Vol. 1, Madrid, 1980, pp. 36, 69–70, observes that a miniature copy of this portrait by the Valencian painter Rafael Montesinos (1843–1872) is preserved in the Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao.
Lorne Campbell. Unpublished text for MMA Bulletin. 1981.
Ann Tzeutschler Lurie. "A Newly Discovered Eyckian 'St. John the Baptist in a Landscape'." Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 67 (April 1981), pp. 95–96, fig. 21.
Penny Howell Jolly. "Rogier van der Weyden's Escorial and Philadelphia 'Crucifixions' and Their Relation to Fra Angelico at San Marco." Oud-Holland 95, no. 3 (1981), p. 125 n. 35.
James Snyder. Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575. New York, 1985, p. 151, fig. 150.
Guy Bauman. "Early Flemish Portraits, 1425–1525." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 43 (Spring 1986), pp. 6–7, 11, 36–38, 42, 44, 51, 53, 58, figs. 6 (color detail) and 28 (color overall), due to the "intimate quality" of the portrait, suspects that the sitter was a close friend or relative of the artist and that the portrait was not commissioned but made for presentation.
Shirley Neilsen Blum in "The Open Window: A Renaissance View." The Window in Twentieth-century Art. Exh. cat., Neuberger Museum, State University of New York at Purchase. Purchase, N.Y., 1986, pp. 11–12, fig. 5, regards the trompe l'oeil fly as not yet fully explained, yet a means of dissolving the barrier between real and illusionistic space.
Introduction by James Snyder inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Renaissance in the North. New York, 1987, pp. 10, 27, colorpl. 5.
Peter Klein. Letter. March 21, 1989, reports on the results of his dendrochronological study of this painting and suggests a probable date of creation of "from 1440 upwards".
Joel M. Upton. Petrus Christus: His Place in Fifteenth-Century Flemish Painting. University Park, Pa., 1990, pp. 22–30, 32, 42, 45, 57, 65, 67, 72, 78, 81, 111, fig. 15.
Maximiliaan P. J. Martens. "New Information on Petrus Christus's Biography and the Patronage of his Brussels 'Lamentation'." Simiolus 20, no. 1 (1990/1991), p. 6 n. 7.
Shirley Neilsen Blum, Selected by Guy C. Bauman, and Walter A. Liedtke inFlemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America. Antwerp, 1992, pp. 54–56, no. 9, ill. (color).
Christopher S. Wood. "Book Reviews: . . . Joel M. Upton, 'Petrus Christus: His Place in Fifteenth-Century Flemish Painting . . .'." Art Bulletin 75 (March 1993), p. 176.
Hans Belting and Christiane Kruse. Die Erfindung des Gemäldes: Das erste Jahrhundert der niederländischen Malerei. Munich, 1994, pp. 50, 196, no. 124, colorpl. 124, fig. 23 (detail).
Maryan W. Ainsworth. Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, pp. 15, 28–30, 32, 49–53, 89, 92–96, 100, 154, 168–69, 178–79, 186, 189–90, no. 5, figs. 14, 62, 63 (detail of inscription; infrared reflectogram of overall and detail), ill. p. 92 (color), observes that this work and the portrait of Edward Grimston (National Gallery, London, on loan from the Earl of Verulam) "originated from one pattern of head shape and size"; notes that the date 1446 could have been inscribed on the original frame, then added to the inscription after that frame was removed.
Peter Klein in Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Dendrochronological Analysis of Panels Attributed to Petrus Christus." Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, p. 215, gives estimated felling date as 1430, and presumed date including ten years storage time as 1440.
John Oliver Hand. "Petrus Christus at the Metropolitan." Apollo 140 (October 1994), p. 50, fig. 2.
Joel M. Upton inLes Primitifs flamands et leur temps. n.p., 1994, p. 366, ill. (color).
Roger Kimball. "'Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art . . ." New Criterion 12, no. 9 (May 1994), pp. 55–56.
Paul Jeromack. "New Light on Old Masters." Art & Antiques 17, no. 5 (1994), ill. p. 77 (color, overall and detail).
Peter Klein. "Dendrochronological Findings of the Van Eyck–Christus–Bouts Group." Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 1995, p. 153.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Afterthoughts and Challenges to Modern-Day Connoisseurship." Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 1995, p. 205.
Joel M. Upton. "PETRVS.XPI.ME.FECIT: The Transformation of a Legacy." Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 1995, pp. 53, 56–57, 60, fig. 1.
Stephanie Buck. "Petrus Christus's Berlin Wings and the Metropolitan Museum's Eyckian Diptych." Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 1995, pp. 78, 82 n. 61.
Colin Eisler and Thomas Kren. "Discussion." Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 1995, p. 98.
Molly Faries. "Discussion." Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 1995, p. 143.
Joe Fronek. "Painting Techniques, and Their Effects and Changes in the Los Angeles 'Portrait of a Man' by Christus." Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 1995, p. 176.
Hubert von Sonnenburg. "Discussion." Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 1995, pp. 183–86.
Marta Renger. "Petrus Christus. A Renaissance Artist in Bruges." Kunstchronik 48, no. 3 (March 1995), pp. 98, 100, ill.
Jos Koldeweij. "Book Reviews: Maryan Ainsworth with contributions by Maximiliaan P. J. Martens, 'Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges'." Simiolus 23, no. 4 (1995), p. 273.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 248, ill.
Joel M. Upton inThe Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 7, New York, 1996, p. 239, ill.
Otto Pächt. Early Netherlandish Painting from Rogier van der Weyden to Gerard David. Ed. Monika Rosenauer. London, 1997, pp. 78–79, ill.
Michael Kimmelman. "At the Met with Chuck Close: Sought or Imposed, Limits Can Take Flight." New York Times (July 25, 1997), p. C23.
J. R. J. van Asperen de Boer. "Some Technical Observations on the Turin and Philadelphia Versions of 'Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata'." Jan van Eyck: Two Paintings of "Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata". Philadelphia, 1997, pp. 56, 62 n. 24.
Della Clason Sperling inFrom Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, pp. 19, 28, 71, 74, 96, 139–40, 143, 148–49, no. 21, ill. (color).
Martha Wolff inThe Robert Lehman Collection. Vol. 2, Fifteenth- to Eighteenth-Century European Paintings. New York, 1998, pp. 62, 71–72 n. 2, p. 73 n. 28.
Hugo van der Velden. "Defrocking St Eloy: Petrus Christus's 'Vocational Portrait of a Goldsmith'." Simiolus 26, no. 4 (1998), pp. 249–50, 253, fig. 8.
John Oliver Hand. "New York. From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Burlington Magazine 140 (December 1998), p. 855.
Michael Kimmelman. Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, the Louvre and Elsewhere. New York, 1998, p. 240 [text similar to Kimmelman 1997].
Francisco Fernández Pardo et al., ed. Las tablas flamencas en la ruta Jacobea. Exh. cat., Claustro de la Iglesia de Palacio, Logroño. San Sebastián, Spain, 1999, p. 201.
Cyriel Stroo et al. The Flemish Primitives: Catalogue of Early Netherlandish Painting in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. Vol. 2, The Dirk Bouts, Petrus Christus, Hans Memling and Hugo van der Goes Groups. Brussels, 1999, p. 164 n. 70.
Roland Krischel inGenie ohne Namen: Der Meister des Bartholomäus-Altars. Ed. Rainer Budde and Roland Krischel. Exh. cat., Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. Cologne, 2001, p. 364.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Commentary: An Integrated Approach." Early Netherlandish Painting at the Crossroads: A Critical Look at Current Methodologies. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 2001, p. 115.
John Oliver Hand in Sybille Ebert-Schifferer. Deceptions and Illusions: Five Centuries of Trompe l'Oeil Painting. Exh. cat., National Gallery. Washington, 2002, pp. 164–65, 373, no. 24, ill. (color).
Georg Zeman with the collaboration of Fritz Koreny inEarly Netherlandish Drawings from Jan van Eyck to Hieronymus Bosch. Ed. Fritz Koreny. Exh. cat., Rubenshuis. Antwerp, 2002, pp. 64, 66, notes that a similar ledge, over which the tail feathers of a falcon reach, appears in Christus's drawing, "Portrait of a Nobleman with a Falcon" (Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt).
José Gómez Frechina inPintura europea del Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia. Exh. cat., Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia. Valencia, 2002, pp.108, 263.
Paul van Calster. "Of Beardless Painters and Red Chaperons: A Fifteenth-Century Whodunit." Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 66 (2003), p. 476 n. 45.
José Gómez Frechina inMuseu de Belles Arts de València: Obra selecta. Valencia, 2004, p. 102.
Paula Nuttall. From Flanders to Florence: The Impact of Netherlandish Painting, 1400–1500. New Haven, 2004, p. 288 nn. 80, 85.
Boudewijn Bakker. Landschap en Wereldbeeld: Van Van Eyck tot Rembrandt. PhD diss., Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. Bussum, The Netherlands, 2004, pp. 119–20, 406 n. 240, figs. 26–26a (overall and detail), believes this may be a portrait of Dionysius the Carthusian, although this cannot be confirmed; adds that the fly could be a memento mori, as human mortality and the belief that the end was near played an important part in the Carthusian environment; notes that Dionysius mentions insects, not the fly in particular, as an example of the great care and love of God in every detail of creation, including the small and the ugly and that, Dionysius saw mankind, like the fly, as just a small part of God's creation.
Lorne Campbell inMemling's Portraits. Ed. Till-Holger Borchert. Exh. cat., Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Ghent, 2005, p. 62, ill. fig 51 (color).
Till-Holger Borchert. Memling's Portraits. Exh. cat., Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Ghent, 2005, p. 163.
Burton L. Dunbar. The Collections of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: German and Netherlandish Paintings, 1450–1600. Kansas City, Mo., 2005, p. 166.
Till-Holger Borchert. "Collecting Early Netherlandish Paintings in Europe and the United States." Early Netherlandish Paintings: Rediscovery, Reception and Research. Ed. Bernhard Ridderbos et al. English ed. Amsterdam, 2005, p. 215 [Dutch ed., "'Om iets te weten van de oude meesters'. De Vlaamse Primitieven—herontdekking, waardering en onderzoek," Nijmegen, 1995].
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Intentional Alterations of Early Netherlandish Paintings." Metropolitan Museum Journal 40 (2005), pp. 51–52, 64 n. 4, figs. 1–2.
Pierre Rosenberg. Only in America: One Hundred Paintings in American Museums Unmatched in European Collections. Milan, 2006, p. 34, ill.
Peter Klein. "Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych: Dendrochronological Analyses." Essays in Context: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych. Ed. John Oliver Hand and Ron Spronk. Cambridge, Mass., 2006, p. 219 [published in conjunction with the 2006 exh. cat., "Prayers and Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych"].
Ingrid Alexander-Skipnes. "Northern Realisim and Carthusian Devotion: Bergognone's Christ Carrying the Cross for the Certosa of Pavia." Cultural Exchange Between the Low Countries and Italy (1400–1600). Ed. Ingrid Alexander-Skipnes. Turnhout, Belgium, 2007, p. 152, fig. 11.
Barbara G. Lane. Hans Memling: Master Painter in Fifteenth-Century Bruges. London, 2009, pp. 80, 83, 90 nn. 11–12, p. 319, fig. 66.
Stephan Kemperdick inVan Eyck to Dürer: Early Netherlandish Painting & Central Europe, 1430–1530. Exh. cat., Groeningemuseum, Bruges. Tielt, Belgium, 2010, p. 384.
Barbara G. Lane inMemling: Rinascimento fiammingo. Ed. Till-Holger Borchert. Exh. cat., Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome. Milan, 2014, pp. 28, 31, 36 n. 51, fig. 10 (color).
Diane Wolfthal and Cathy Metzger. Los Angeles Museums. Brussels, 2014, p. 103 n. 26.
Lorne Campbell and José Juan Pérez Preciado inRogier van der Weyden and the Kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. Ed. Lorne Campbell. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 2015, p. 109, under no. 6.
Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, pp. 140–41, 268–69, no. 130, ill. pp. 108, 140 (color).
Emma Capron. The Charterhouse of Bruges: Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus, and Jan Vos. Exh. cat., Frick Collection. New York, 2018, pp. 26, 31, 33, 66 nn. 101–3, pp. 134, 141–42, no. 4, fig. 16 and frontispiece (color, overall and detail).
Simone Facchinetti and Aimee Ng inMoroni: The Riches of Renaissance Portraiture. Exh. cat., Frick Collection. New York, 2019, pp. 88–89 n. 6, fig. 48 (color).
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