self-made man

The actual portrait is a little larger than life-size.  When presented by the artist, Sir Henry Raeburn, to the self-made man who’d commissioned the painting, William Forbes, it was recommended that a viewer stand the equivalent of 5 metres back from the painting which should ideally be elevated (the modern equivalent) of nearly 2 metres from the ground.  Fortunately, The National Gallery of Scotland – where you can see this painting – has the space to do just that.  The curious thing is that the painting itself is not at all imposing.  When you learn the story of the man in the painting, you can’t help but be impressed.