A Portrait of a Carmelite Prior
Antwerp, about 1616
Oil on wood
79.5 x 65.5 cm
A man dressed in the austere habit of the Carmelite order prays in front of a crucifix.
The order was dedicated to contemplative prayer. The man’s identity is not known, but his rapt gaze and the sympathetic treatment of his hands suggest a sincere and deep faith. The portrait may date from 1616 when Rubens was painting a large altarpiece for a Carmelite church in Brussels. The artist himself was devout and he painted a number of portraits of ecclesiastics.
Purchased 1999 with contributions from The Art Fund and the Friends of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts (No.99.1)