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Nason, Pieter
Portrait of René Descartes
1647

French philosopher René Descartes lived in Holland from 1628 to 1649; his famous Discourse on Method (1637) and other works were written there. In 1647, he was at the height of his fame. His finely gloved hand projects over the frame into our space. This illusionistic motif, favored by the portraitist Pieter Nason, brings the figure vividly to life. Two years later, Descartes left Holland for the court of Queen Christina of Sweden, where he died in 1650.

 
Nason, Pieter
Amsterdam, Netherlands around 1612–The Hague, Netherlands 1688–1690
Portrait of René Descartes
1647
Oil on canvas
75.0 x 62.5 cm
Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2013
56-003.24

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