Filling the frame, the head of this unknown man has astonishing presence. The bulk of the fleshy cheeks has great immediacy, but the alert look in the eyes with their stylised rendering lends the portrait a quality that goes beyond corpulence. The person portrayed and his painter, who was probably from the circle of Rogier van der Weyden, aim to create a dignified portrait: the heaviness of the features makes the man recognisable as an individual, but his look is intended to express qualities of mind which could possibly be described as good judgement and reason, and certainly as piety too.


  • Title: Portrait of a Fat Man
  • Creator: Master of Flémalle
  • Date Created: around 1425
  • Physical Dimensions: w17.7 x h28.5 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Medium: Oil on oak wood
  • Style: Netherlandish
  • Copyright Text: Text: © http://www.prestel.com, Prestel Verlag / Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Stephan Kemperdick // Photo: © http://www.bpk-images.de, b p k - Photo Agency / Kaiser Friedrich-Museums-Verein / Jörg P. Anders
  • Collection: Kaiser Friedrich-Museums-Verein
  • Artist information: The Master of Flémalle is the former name for the French artist Robert Campin, considered the first famous master of early Netherlandish painting. Together with Jan van Eyck, he was the key figure in its development. He is said to have been the master of Rogier van der Weyden and Jacques Daret. Although not the official city painter of Tournai directly, he completed many commissions for its leaders. His earlier works were characterized by the French tradition of manuscript illumination and show stunning attention to detail.
  • Artist Place of Death: Tournai, Belgium
  • Artist Place of Birth: Valenciennes, France
  • Artist Gender: male
  • Artist Dates: 1378/1444-04-26

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