A skillfully-rendered figural scene of an older man instructing a boy, oil on panel, or possibly oil on canvas relined to old wood panel. It was purchased at auction in Holland years ago and simply described as "unsigned 16-17th C., Flemish".
Close inspection of the painted surface reveals a overall craqueleur with minor filling and in-painting of the ocher areas of tunic, and black of shadows and garments. The pigment is stable and has been recently varnished. The plane of the single panel exhibits no cracking or cupping. The back of the panel shows adze and hand tool marks and the color is appropriate to vintage of painting. The panel measures 16"X 19".
The tightly-composed structure of the scene suggests this painting may have been a portion of a larger work. As a subject it could stand on its own as simply a puzzling interchange between and man and a child, yet the message is not clear, as if there were more to the story (which there may well be if we're only seeing a fragment of it). Also, the absence of other details in foreground or background is curious.
We feel comfortable with the age attribution of this painting and represent it for what it is--- an appealing period Renaissance painting by an anonymous master or talented journeyman.
The frame is an Italian/Flemish reproduction with offset, finished corners and fluted, beaded and egg-and-dart details under a hand-worked gesso and gold-metal leaf top coat. Overall dimensions are 26"X30".
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