About this artwork
This portrait once formed one half of a folding, portable diptych. The sitter—identifiable through his coat of arms, personal motto, and initials on the back of the panel—is Jean Gros, an administrator to the future duke of Burgundy. His prayerful gaze was originally directed at another panel with an image of Mary and the infant Jesus, now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tournai, Belgium. Gros’s coat of arms is on the back of that panel as well.
This type of diptych, which was intended to suggest continuous prayer and to record the donor’s features, was probably first made for princes around 1400. Rogier van der Weyden revitalized the portrait tradition in the mid-15th century, creating similar diptychs for patrons at the highest level of the Burgundian court. In commissioning one for himself, Gros was displaying his ambition and his close associations with the court.
- Rogier van der Weyden
- Portrait of Jean Gross (recto); Coat of Arms of Jean Gros (verso)
- Oil on panel
- Inscribed: Reverse: coat of arms of Jean Gros,1 GRACES . A DIEV. (on banderole), JG (flanking escutcheon)
- 15 3/16 × 11 3/8 in. (38.5 × 28.8 cm); painted surface: 14 3/8 × 10 5/8 in. (36.5 × 27 cm); reverse: 15 3/8 × 11 3/8 in. (39 × 28.8 cm); reverse painted surface: 14 1/2 × 10 1/2 in. (36.8 × 26.7 cm)
- Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection