Artwork of the Week: November 9

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Nicolas de Largillierre (French 1656–1746), Portrait of a Man, oil on canvas, 1703. 57 3/4 x 45 1/4 in. Gallery 28B

This Fall, the Artwork of the Week celebrates the Museum’s “Season of Portraiture.”

Although the identities of the man and woman in this portrait are unknown, the painting was probably meant to commemorate their liaison, possibly even their marriage. The cupid-like boy holding an apple is an allusion to the theme of love, perhaps suggesting the myth of the Judgment of Paris, the Prince of Troy, who awarded a golden apple to Venus as the fairest of three goddesses. The woman’s depiction as a portrait-within-a-portrait suggests a physical separation between the couple at the time the painting was made.

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