A Benedictine Monk

Circle of Hugo van der Goes Netherlandish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 602

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. Like many other surviving Netherlandish portraits, this 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.

A Benedictine Monk, Circle of Hugo van der Goes (Netherlandish, early 1480s), Oil on wood

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