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Jacob Adriaensz Backer, Portrait of a Boy in Grey, 1634

This portrait is remarkable, mainly because Backer has painted it with a very limited palette of mostly shades of grey. He used a little red paint only for the cheeks and lips. Another remarkable feature is that the boy is looking down at us, which was not usually the case in children’s portraits.

The anonymous boy is wearing the clothes of an adult man. This was normal in those days for boys from the age of seven. He has draped his cloak over his shoulder, like an elegant gentleman.

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