This is a follow-up post on some of the crypto portraits of Charles the Bold.

To summarize: there are almost no direct portrait paintings of Charles the Bold. Most of them are copies of paintings that were lost or just complete fantasy. For reference purposes I’ll repost the most important ones here.

The best known portrait is the (copy) of the portrait by Rogier van der Weyden, the one I’m more or less copying now.

There is also a copy of a portrait that was painted when Charles the Bold travelled to Dijon to bury his parents. In this one he is rather rough looking.

But there are also some so called contemporary crypto portraits, ie portraits that appear in paintings that may portray someone particular without mentioning their name (and as such are theoretical portraits, I guess).

One of such portraits is John the Apostle in the Last Judgment scene by Memling (discussed this before):

There are also three other supposed crypto-portraits that are somewhat linked together. The three portraits are all portraying one of the three wise men that visited newly born baby Jesus (not to be confused with baby Yoda :/). Two of them are by Memling and his workshop, the third one by Rogier van der Weyden. They’re all similar.

The first one is the Floreins triptych by Memling, located at the St Jans hospital at Bruges (a new trip to Bruges is in order, once the museum is open again).

The king in red on the left may be a portrait of Charles the Bold.

A fairly similar painting is located at the Prado, Madrid.

The third Magi painting I want to show is known as the Columba altarpiece and was painted by Rogier van der Weyden and workshop.

According to the books about Memling I read and other sources, the oldest king kissing the child may be a portrait of Philip the Good and the youngest king, the one in red on the right, is supposedly a portrait of Charles the Bold. This one:

It was even used as his portrait for a biography by Henri Dubois:

Now the odd thing is that the middle king looks a lot more like the Memling kings.

Not sure what is going on here.

There is more to this. According to a couple articles I read, it should be possible to detect certain physical deformities in the portraits. Charles the Bold and Philip the Good (who also had a very long nose apparently) were known to have a protruding, big lower lip. It can definitely be seen in the first two portraits. In the other ones it is not so clear except the youngest king. (result of inbreeding?)

There is also something wrong with the B’s ears, according to said articles, but so far I can’t tell what from the portaits. I’ll have to see if I can find more sources for that.

As for his eyes, I still don’t know what colour they were. I do know that his daughter Mary apparently had grey-brown eyes.

And now I’m off to check an interesting theory about his second wife.