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Timothy - Jan van Eyck. 33.3 x 18.9 cm
The work of Jan van Eyck "Timothy", which is also known as the "Portrait of a Man", is not only the earliest portrait in the work of the author, but, in principle, one of the earliest examples of male secular portrait in medieval art.
In the picture there is a man who, for today's viewer, looks very bizarre. In fact, the young man (researchers give the hero about 30 years) is dressed in the latest fashion from the times of van Eyck. He wears loose-fitting clothes of bright red color, the collar of which is trimmed with a thin strip of fur. On the man’s head is a chaperone, which is a hood with a falling long slap. This is a traditional men's headdress in the Middle Ages.
Obviously, the man is bald - he does not have hair on his head, lacks stubble and even eyebrows. If you look very closely at the original, you can notice an unexpected detail - a bald man without vegetation has eyelashes on his face. Researchers agree that they were painted much later than van Eyck, in the process of restoration of work.
Hands on the portrait were also added later, but either by the author himself or by one of his students. In the hands of Timothy is some kind of scroll document. There are only speculations on this score: whether it is music and we have a musician in front of us, or a literary work, for example, a pamphlet, and maybe an important document, which means that van Eyck portrayed a statesman ...
The mystery of the hero is only exacerbated by his expressive eyes. This is an unfocused gaze full of piety, thoughtfulness and modesty.
At the bottom of the portrait are depicted as if carved in stone, three inscriptions - in Greek, French and Latin. The most understandable is the last. This is the year of creation and the indication of the author. The French inscription translates as "faithful reminder." And finally, the first inscription mysteriously says: "Then was the Lord."
After analyzing all the available information, scientists agreed that this is a posthumous portrait. But who exactly? The past has left an answer to this riddle for itself.