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Title Study of an Old Man
Alternative Title Expression of Madness; Study of a Bearded Man
Collection Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle
Artist V., E. (French artist, active ca. 1838)
Date 1838 (dated)
Signed yes
Description This is a rather grotesque portrait of an older man, in the style of the pictures made of mentally-ill patients. Its nineteenth-century title, Expression of Madness, may therefore be correct. The sitter is represented against a plain background and is wearing dark clothing, which emphasize his expression. His feelings are difficult to read, as though he was lost in a world of his own. His dishevelled hair and beard may be a further indication of his inability to look after himself.
Current Accession Number B.M.530
Former Accession Number No. 610
Inscription front lr 'E.V. 1--8'
Subject portrait
Measurements 78.5 x 62.5 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by the founders John and Joséphine Bowes 1885.
Notes This was listed as no. 610 in John Bowes' catalogue, as 'Head of an old Man. White beard, and hair. Expression of madness, signed E.V. 1838'. The 8 and the 3 of the date have now disappeared as a result of flaking, but presumably, before that occurrence, the full date was legible as John Bowes gave the date as 1838.
Rights Owner The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
Author Dr Maylis Hopewell-Curie




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