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Unknown Artist
Hermit with a Large Book
Around 1640–1650

With his neatly trimmed beard and fashionable coiffure, the man in this painting represents a sitter posing as a hermit, immersed in study and prayer in his rough wilderness retreat, following the model of early Christian hermits such as St. Jerome. Standard devices for such scenes included references to the transience of earthly life in the face of the eternal and hereafter, here embodied in two skulls, one animal and one human.

 
Unknown Artist
Hermit with a Large Book
Around 1640–1650
Oil on canvas
106.7 x 94.0 cm
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Alfred Bader, 1974
17-025

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