On our visit to Granada on Saturday I got to see once again one of my favorite paintings in the world-Bouts' portrait of Christ. Actually, it's attributed to Bouts' workshop, but I think I read somewhere an article by an art historian who thought it was by the master himself.  (Dirk Bouts was a 15th century Flemish painter and some of his works, including a beautiful triptych, ended up in the personal collection of Queen Isabel of Spain. These works are on display in the Royal Chapel of Granada, an extraordinary place.) Among all the treasures-Isabel's crown, Ferdinand's sword, etc.-, this small portrait really stands out for me because it seems so innovative and daring. Jesus here is represented just head and shoulders, and there is nothing to suggest that this is the Messiah. To me, he just seems like a rather interesting young man of uncertain stature and attitude. Somewhat mysterious, perhaps. And a tad effeminate, perhaps due to the slightly rosy cheeks and the hair parted down the middle. But that's offset by his beard. Who could have been the model for this portrait? I imagine an artisan of some kind, maybe a silversmith. In any case, I've always thought the painting represents the Humanist revolution that was changing the way learned people in Europe thought in the 15th century. It strikes me as almost heretical. The reproduction here is a photo I took from a postcard, so the quality is not good. And I decided to add a portrait Cristina did of her abuelo Daniel.  Excellent, no? Portraits really fascinate me and I'll write more about them soon.

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