The Getty Paintings section houses 84 images of Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and early Modern
paintings taken at the Getty Center that were selected and compiled from several visits to the museum.
The images are arranged chronologically and by artist, covering 600 years from the 1300s to early 1900.
The section is separated into two pages by chronology: 1300-1650 and 1650-1900.
This Overview contains sample images and a Display Composite linked to each page.
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Madonna and Saints Daddi 3251
Madonna, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Saint Paul, Bernardo Daddi, Italian, c. 1330, tempera and gold leaf on panel.
This triptych depicting the Virgin Mary in the center flanked by Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Paul is too large to have been easily portable, and was probably commissioned by a Dominican patron for a small chapel. On the left panel Saint Thomas Aquinas wears the Dominican habit and holds a book of his writings, turned to the text of Ecclesiastes. On the right panel, Saint Paul turns toward the Virgin and holds his symbol of martyrdom, the sword. In the center, the Virgin Mary is holding a book in one hand (open at a page inscribed with the Magnificat from Luke’s Gospel) and reaches over the marble parapet with her right hand. This gesture symbolizes the holy Mother's power and mercy, and her unique position to serve for man as a compassionate link to God. There is a tiny figure of Christ Blessing in the pinnacle. The Virgin Mary wears a deep rich blue cloak made from ultramarine or lapis lazuli, a very precious and expensive pigment. A pattern of intricate marks called tooling, punched into the gold, defines the halo around her head. The background of the panels is covered with a thin layer of gold leaf, but the impression is of solid gold, meant to honor the holy figures depicted.
Story of Joseph d’Antonio 4115
The Story of Joseph, Biagio d’Antonio, Italian, c. 1485, tempera and gold leaf on panel.
A series of continuous narratives from the Old Testament depicts episodes from the life of Joseph, favorite son of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob. To make the story easier to follow, Biagio d'Antonio included inscriptions identifying the principal characters.
In the open loggia at left, Jacob, seated on a throne with Benjamin at his side, sends Joseph to his half-brothers tending sheep in the field. In the background, shown in the arch of the loggia, Joseph is walking at the extreme left of his brothers, tending the resting sheep. In the far left corner, the brothers, jealous of their father's love for Joseph, are pulling him from the well they threw him into after stripping him of his jacket, and are about to sell him to merchants riding down the road for twenty pieces of silver. In the background to the right, the merchants board the ship that will take them and their cargo to Egypt. In the right-hand loggia, Ruben and the other brothers show a blood-smeared coat to their father as evidence that Joseph is dead. With his head in his hand, Jacob mourns his son, whom he believes to be dead. To the right, Joseph's brothers and the Isrealites are seen departing for Egypt to buy corn.
Young Man in Red Raphael 1825
Young Man in Red Raphael 1994
Portrait of a Young Man in Red, Circle of Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio), Italian, c. 1505, oil on panel.
An unknown man, cool and contained, stands proudly in front of a prosperous landscape that may include a portrait of his own residence. The fine yet restrained clothes, direct gaze, and proud bearing characterize the new Renaissance emphasis on individualism. The three-quarter turn of the body, with his arm forming the base of the triangular composition, became a popular pose in that era; not incidentally, it draws attention to the man's ring and the fine Middle Eastern carpet covering the table.
Raphael, born Raffaello Sanzio, was crowned the "Prince of Painters" by Giorgio Vasari, a sixteenth-century biographer of artists. From his father, Raphael learned painting; in his native Urbino, he experienced intellectual court life. A year after his father's sudden death, Raphael entered the workshop of Urbino's leading painter at age twelve and quickly surpassed his master. By the age of twenty-one, Raphael had moved to Florence, where he embraced the works of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. In Florence, his many paintings of the Madonna and Child display his characteristic human warmth, serenity, and sublimely perfect figures. Raphael's art epitomized the High Renaissance qualities of harmony and ideal beauty.
Entombment Rubens 1910
The Entombment, Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish, c. 1612, oil on canvas.
Peter Paul Rubens depicted the moment after the Crucifixion and before the Resurrection when Christ is placed into the tomb. His head is turned directly towards the viewer as he is being supported by those closest to him in life: John the Evangelist, in a brilliant red robe, bears the weight of Christ; Mary Magdalene cries in the background; while Mary, the mother of James the Younger and Joseph, bows her head in sorrow and contemplates Christ’s wounded hand. Mary, mother of Christ, cradles his head and looks heavenward for divine intercession. Notice how, except for her hand, Rubens depicted Mary’s complexion as even more pale and deathlike than Christ’s.
Unlike many paintings surrounding Christ’s crucifixion, Rubens’ artwork uses color and attention to detail, including weight, to focus more on the pain and sadness that others felt after Christ’s death rather than the actual crucifixion itself. The emotional attachment that the audience feels to the human side of Christ was of great importance to the church and its artists during that moment in time. This painting (sometimes referred to as The Entombment 2 of 1612) was painted just after Rubens made a copy of Caravaggio's Entombment, which is now in the National Gallery of Canada. Rubens focus in his original was more on the emotional drama after Christ was already on the slab, rather than the action of laying him on the slab, and there was considerably less theatricality to the presentation of the mourning.
Return from War Rubens-Brueghel HS9297
The Return from War: Mars Disarmed by Venus, c. 1610-1612,
Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder, Flemish, Antwerp, oil on panel.
Amid the disarray of Vulcan's forge, Venus leans into the embrace of her lover, Mars, who is transfixed by her alluring gaze. Caught up in his attraction to the aggressively seductive goddess, Mars is no longer able to carry out his military exploits. Venus removes his helmet, while mischievous putti cavort with his sword and shield. In the 1600s, the subject of Venus disarming her lover Mars was understood as an allegory of Peace. Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder's interpretation of the subject, however, emphasizes the fragility of peace. Weapons production continues in the background at the burning fires of Vulcan's hearth, signaling that love's conquest of war may be only temporary.
Antwerp’s most eminent painters of the early 17th century, Rubens and Brueghel were close colleagues and friends, and collaborated on at least twenty-five paintings. When working in concert, they mostly adhered to their respective genres. This painting displays each virtuoso's talents: Rubens's robust figural style and iconography and Brueghel's elaborate scenery and intricate still life details. The luminous figure of Venus, the reflective quality of the weapons and armor, and the tactile quality of the lush painting testify to their skill.
Bacchante with Ape Ter Brugghen HS9300
Bacchante with an Ape, Hendrick Ter Brugghen, Dutch, 1627, oil on canvas.
A bacchante, follower of Bacchus, the god of wine, leans forward and grins at the viewer while squeezing a bunch of grapes into a golden drinking vessel. Her posture, exposed breasts, flushed cheeks, and inviting smile allude to her drunken state. There is something disturbing, however, in the way she provocatively confronts the viewer, leaning into the spectator's space and smiling broadly. In the lower left corner an ape mimics the woman's gesture, holding a smaller bunch of grapes in his right paw. The ape may serve a moralizing purpose, condemning excessive drinking.
While visiting Rome from about 1604 to 1614, Hendrick ter Brugghen saw the famous Bacchus by Caravaggio from which this classical painting of Bacchus' female follower derives. Bacchante with an Ape is generally considered to be among the best works ever produced by Hendrick Ter Brugghen. The vibrant colors, the subject's smile and posture, and the overall presence is powerful. Ter Brugghen made some changes to this painting during its creation, some were revealed by X-Rays and others are visible to the naked eye, since over time some of the paint surface has become more transparent. The entire left corner containing the ape and the fruit in front of him were added at a later stage (revealed by the X-Rays). The left contour of the woman's red garment was moved about an inch to the right, and the garments draped around her body can be seen to have been originally further up her neck, now partially hidden by the scarf, which has become more transparent. Her sleeve originally covered her arm to the wrist, but was painted over to roll it back about an inch. Some of the red paint can now be seen on her wrist. The cloth on her chest originally came up a bit higher. The ape seems to have three hind paws (the left standing up and the right is doubled). These changes in composition have become apparent as the transparency of the paint has increased.
Agostino Pallavicini van Dyck 1923
Portrait of Agostino Pallavicini, Anthony van Dyck, Flemish, 1621-1623, oil on canvas.
Agostino Pallavicini, a member of the Genoese branch of the Pallavicini family and the future doge of Genoa, sits enveloped by the sumptuous, flowing red robes worn in his role as ambassador to the Pope. The wide expanse of fabric, spectacularly rendered, seems to have a life of its own and almost threatens to take over the painting. The luxurious swirl of cloth, its brilliant sheen, and the way it glimmers and reflects light display Anthony van Dyck's virtuosity as a painter. The family coat of arms seen on the drapery behind the sitter at the left, along with other documented portraits, firmly establishes Pallavicini's identity.
In 1621 Van Dyck left Antwerp and traveled to Italy, where he stayed for five years, viewing large private collections of Italian paintings and painting various portraits. This was one of the first paintings he made in Italy, painted in 1621 to commemorate the sitter's service as an ambassador to the newly elected Pope Gregory XV. Our present-day image of 17th century Genoese nobility owes more to Van Dyck than any other artist. The grandeur and stateliness of his portraits, usually life-size and full length with a background of pillars and luxurious draperies were unlike anything that could be produced by any other artist in Italy at the time, and his results captivated the European nobility, setting the standard for portraiture in Italy, England and Flanders.
Old Man in Military Costume Rembrandt HS9373
An Old Man in Military Costume, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Dutch, about 1630-1631, oil on panel.
The subject, who appears in different guises in several other paintings by Rembrandt and his contemporaries, wears a hat with a tall ostrich plume and a metal gorget (armor protecting the throat). His military costume may symbolize Dutch strength and patriotism during the struggle for independence from Spain. Although he faces front, the man's torso is turned in a three-quarter view and illuminated by a cool light from the upper left. His watery eyes, rendered with great naturalness with red in the corners, are gazing off to the side give the image a sense of immediacy.
Rembrandt deftly captured the contrasting textures of materials: the downiness of the ostrich feather, the velvety softness of the cap, and the smooth coldness of the metal gorget. The furrowed skin around the bridge of the man's nose, the moistness of his eyes, and the wispiness of his mustache and beard map out the physical process of aging.
Rembrandt painted over an underlying portrait on this panel, using nearly identical paint. This painting, also known as A Man in a Gorget and Plumed Cap, was painted when the artist was 24 years old, and he may have been conserving materials. For many years, this was assumed to have been a portrait of Rembrandt's father, but it was later determined to be an anonymous sitter who was used by many artists in the young Rembrandt's circle.
Interior St. Bavo Haarlem Saenredam 2366
The Interior of St. Bavo, Haarlem, Pieter Jansz. Saenredam, Dutch, 1628, oil on panel.
Light fills the interior of the Church of Saint Bavo in Haarlem, one of the finest Gothic buildings still in existence today. Although Pieter Jansz. Saenredam based his work on careful on-the-spot studies, the painting combines two distinct views, one looking straight ahead from a spot in the north transept and the other toward the chancel on the left. He even added a painted altarpiece at the end of the south transept, rounded aisle arches, and a stained glass window of the Immaculate Conception, which would probably already have been removed from the church by Saenredam's time. By the 1600s, Protestant churches in Holland had become relatively austere in response to the teachings of theologian John Calvin.
The overall impression is one of strong verticality, soaring space, and penetrating light, a spiritual reference to the heavens above. The inclusion of small figures accentuate the viewer's experience of exalted interior space. Figures that had been added to the foreground were removed during the cleaning in 1952. Saenredam, credited with having begun the tradition of architectural painting in the Netherlands, described architectural elements in great detail: vaulted ceilings, moldings, decorative capitals, clustered pillars, and clerestory windows. Trained as an architectural draftsman, this is his earliest dated work.
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Architectural Scene Scagliola Fistulator 4008
Architectural Scene and Frame, German and Italian, c. 1650, frame 1730 -1740
Workshop of Blausius Pfeiffer (known as Fistulator, active 1587-1622), Munich
Plaque: scagliola; frame: ebonized wood with gilt-bronze mounts. (1.02 MB)
This vibrant architectural scene is a tour de force of illusionism and perspective. It is made of scagliola, a mixture of stucco, glue and colorants put on a stucco surface and intended to imitate the more expensive and technically demanding medium of commesso or stone mosaic. Scagliola was also preferred because it allowed for a more painterly rendering. The plaque depicts a classic Renaissance coffered arcade that recedes to a landscape of other Italianate buildings and a park. Imitation marble is used here to depict real marble buildings, and linear perspective creates the illusion of a three-dimensional scene. Perspective prints and stage-set designs published in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries inspired this picturesque scene. The tricks of perspective exemplify the Baroque interest in illusion and theatricality. The plaque may have been originally planned for insertion in a piece of furniture or to be framed and hung on the wall.
The picturesque Italianate scene on this plaque was inspired by perspective prints and stage set designs published in the 16th and 17th centuries. Blausius Fistulator and his followers created a number of similar plaques for the Munich Residenz. The plaque was placed in its frame nearly a century after it was made (conceived and executed in the style of Giovanni Battista Foggini, court artist to the Medici — see the Night Clock on the Decorative Art page and the Laocoon on the Bronze Sculptures page). The frame is surmounted by the coat of arms of Lorenzo Corsini (1652-1740) who was elected Pope Clement XII in 1730. It is unknown whether the Pope had it framed, or if it was framed to present to the Pope as a gift.
Saint-Albin Rigaud 1709
Saint-Albin Rigaud 3821
A detail crop from another image taken in more neutral light, yielding more color saturation. This image is cropped to show about 40% more detail than the image at left, which shows the restored frame, designed by Giles-Marie Oppenord.
Charles de Saint-Albin, Archbishop of Cambrai, Hyacinthe Rigaud, French, 1723, oil on canvas.
The Archbishop of Cambrai, Louis-Charles de Saint-Albin, was the illegitimate son of Philippe, Duc d'Orléans, and a dancer at the opera. Although his father never recognized him officially, he smoothed his son's swift advance in the Church hierarchy and aided his appointment as the Archbishop of Cambrai. In the year of his appointment, the archbishop commissioned this portrait from Hyacinthe Rigaud, the most accomplished and flattering portraitist at the court of Louis XIV.
Shown in his robes of office, Saint-Albin balances a book on his knee and presses his left hand to his chest, a gesture suggesting his spirituality. Rigaud masterfully displayed the different textures of his shimmering satin robe and the exquisitely patterned lace of the garment worn underneath. A soft ermine cape is painted so realistically that the viewer can see the indentations left by Saint-Albin's fingers as they press against the fur.
Gabriel Bernard de Rieux - de la Tour HS4793
Portrait of Gabriel Bernard de Rieux, Maurice-Quentin de La Tour
French, c. 1739-1741, pastel and gouache on paper mounted on canvas
Gabriel Bernard de Rieux was the second son of Samuel Bernard, the immensely successful financier and knowledgeable amateur. Samuel purchased for Gabriel the title comte de Rieux in 1702, along with an estate in Languedoc. Gabriel Bernard de Rieux became conseiller to the Paris Parlement at the age of twenty-five. Ten years later, in 1727, he was named président of the second chambre des enquêtes of the Parlement, a post he would hold until his death. Here, in the world’s largest pastel mounted in another spectacular frame, he wears the robes of his office as president of the second Court of Inquiry.
From a large tome held on his lap, de Rieux lifts a sheet of paper. Intending to declare the sitter's erudition, wealth, and status, Maurice-Quentin de La Tour placed de Rieux in his study, surrounded by fashionable and expensive objects. Behind him is a richly ornamental screen; on a table covered with blue velvet cloth are books, papers, and an inkstand with a quill pen. A globe stands next to the table and a Turkish carpet covers the floor. These objects identify the sitter as a connoisseur of fine and precious thing, like his father, whose considerable fortune de Rieux inherited the year this portrait was painted. The deliberately old-fashioned furnishings and Gabriel Bernard's poised hauteur create the aura of old wealth and status, a fiction delightfully undone by the brazen grandeur of his portrait. In this work the high ambitions of a patron and an artist, who was said to produce a new marvel of perfection every year, seamlessly coincide.
Dance Before a Fountain Lancret 3823
Dance before a Fountain (Le Moulinet), Nicolas Lancret, French, by 1724, oil on canvas.
In a luxuriant park adorned with a monumental fountain, two couples perform a country dance, accompanied by the music of a rustic bagpipe. The focus of the composition is an elegant figure of a woman, facing the viewer near the center of the scene in a pearlescent dress. On either side, other couples play out the game of love in its various stages of anticipation, entreaty, and reward. Lancret's subject was an 18th century invention called a fête galante. Paintings of a fête galante depicted a pastoral landscape peopled by elegant figures, who seemed uninhibited by the stiff conventions of formal society, as they strolled, made music, or attempted to woo their partners. Lancret's fluid brushstroke is evident in the shimmering highlights of the costumes and in the play of their opulent colors against the harmony of the landscape background. The painting's relatively large size suggests that it was commissioned by a prominent collector, possibly an aristocratic patron or member of the French royalty.
Paintings of the fête galante derived from 17th century paintings from the Low Countries such as Rubens’ The Garden of Love and numerous others, and often the early 18th century French artists derived their figures from engravings of theatrical costumes and fashion plates (gravures de mode), which gave them limitless examples of people in fashionable and contemporary dress pursuing leisure activities. Outdoor gatherings of well-bred people to socialize, flirt, picnic and dance were called fêtes galante before the end of the 17th century, long before the painting genre existed.
Maria Frederike van Reede-Athlone Liotard 3798
Maria Frederike van Reede-Athlone at Seven, Jean-Étienne Liotard, Swiss, 1755-1756, pastel on vellum.
Liotard visited Holland in 1755 and remained for over a year, during which time he was patronized by members of the Dutch court and by aristocratic sitters from The Hague, Amsterdam, and Delft. The artist was introduced to the van Reede family by the diplomat William Bentinck, Second Earl of Portland, whose portrait he painted. The Baroness van Reede, related to Bentinck's half sister, was painted by Liotard as were her two children. Her seven-year-old daughter, Maria Frederike (1748-1807), is portrayed dressed in a winter cape of blue velvet trimmed with ermine. The image is made less formal by the presence of a lap dog and the artist's evident delight in the young girl's fresh and captivating features.
Changing attitudes towards children and the emergence of a large middle class in 18th-century Europe increased the demand for portraits of children such as this one. Maria Frederike looks off to the side in a three-quarter view. Lost in thought, she is composed yet somewhat shy in comparison to her dog, who stares out with unabashed curiosity. With startling naturalism, Liotard captured her youth and beauty, setting off her eyebrows, lashes, and lustrous hair against her soft, fresh complexion.
Countess Anne Gainsborough 1683
Portrait of Anne, Countess of Chesterfield, Thomas Gainsborough, English, 1777-1778, oil on canvas.
Anne Thistlewaite, the Countess of Chesterfield, appears lost in thought as she sits with her left arm resting on a plinth. Dense foliage furnishes a backdrop for her figure, while the right half of the painting provides a distant, unobstructed view of her lands. A pale beige shawl trimmed with gold fringe wraps loosely around her back and shoulders, and dainty white slippers emerge from underneath her elaborate blue satin gown. Her fashionable upswept hair and low-cut gown reveal the graceful curve of her neck and breast. breast. Gainsborough was commissioned to paint this portrait and its companion of Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl of Chesterfield after their marriage in 1777.
Among Thomas Gainsborough's many portraits of English aristocrats, this large painting stands out as a remarkably loose and freely painted example. He conveyed a sense of immediacy in the large sweeping brushstrokes used to describe material, foliage, and background sky. Short, curved brushstrokes form the tree trunk, while longer strokes of blue and white paint create an illusion of shimmering, rustling fabric. Small dabs of white and gold paint applied to the shawl lend it a rich, glimmering effect.
Louise Feuardent Millet 1657
Louise Feuardent Millet 3097c
Louise-Antoinette Feuardent, Jean-François Millet, French, 1841, oil on canvas.
Before Jean-François Millet achieved international success as a painter of peasant life, he earned his living as a portraitist. Here, he depicted Louise-Antoinette Feuardent, the wife of his lifelong friend Félix-Bienaimé Feuardent, a clerk in the library at Cherbourg. In this portrait painted shortly after her marriage, Louise-Antoinette prominently displays her wedding band on her left hand while looking out of the picture, her brown eyes calmly assessing the viewer.
Ambitiously rejecting the hard-edged academicism of contemporary society portraiture which was made popular by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Millet turned to models in 17th century Dutch painting. This portrait of a quietly contained bourgeois wife has the atmospheric stillness of a work by Gerrit Dou. Relying on a limited palette, simple tonal harmonies, tightly controlled line and composition, and fluid, often visible brushstrokes, Millet captured the restrained elegance of this demure, yet poised and self-possessed woman. The portrait's impact depends on the harmonious balance between monochromatic tones (termed by Millet the "ponderation of tonality") and between fluid brushwork and tightly controlled line. Millet's resolution of formal opposites is a means of expressing the sitter's self-containment, her alert shyness, her poised composure.
La Promenade Renoir 3753
La Promenade, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French, Paris, 1870, oil on canvas.
What Pierre-August Renoir himself titled this painting is unknown, but La Promenade is in part an homage to earlier artists that he greatly admired, and one of Renoir’s most beloved paintings, which he painted at the age of 29. Renoir had spent the previous summer painting outdoors with Claude Monet, who encouraged him to move toward the lighter, more luminous palette of the Impressionists and to indulge his penchant for luscious, feathery brushwork. Here Renoir retained something of Gustave Courbet's green-and-brown palette while choosing his subject from the sensual, lighthearted garden jaunts of eighteenth-century painters such as Jean-Antoine Watteau and Jean-Honoré Fragonard, whose works he had studied in the Louvre. This work is first recorded at an 1898 auction in Paris (the first owner and original title are unknown).
In La Promenade, Renoir utterly repudiated the conventional thought, primarily espoused by Ingres, that hard, clear-cut linear boundaries must be used to separate forms. Renoir followed Delacroix's point of view, which stated that there were no lines in nature, and in La Promenade, transitions between forms are for the most part soft, feathery and gradual. The overall play of varied color further emphasizes Renoir's allegiance to Delacroix's example.
Unlike the images of seduction created by his predecessors, Renoir's is a brief moment caught by chance. Two middle-class Parisians are glimpsed fleetingly while immersed in nature, possibly at a local park rather than set before a studio backdrop. The male figure in the painting is thought to be painter Alfred Sisley. Artist Edmond Maitre's mistress, a woman known as Rapha, was probably the model for the dark-haired female, although it has been suggested that it was Renoir’s own mistress Lise Tréhot. The dappled light filtering through the foliage would become a trademark of Renoir's finest Impressionist works of the 1870s and 1880s. He used a thin, oily paint mix, his glazes here floating into each other to create depth.
The Getty bought La Promenade at a Sotheby’s auction in 1989 for a record $17.7 million.
Irises van Gogh 3106
Irises, Vincent van Gogh, Dutch, Saint-Rémy, France, 1889, oil on canvas.
After episodes of self-mutilation and hospitalization due to an argument with Paul Gaugin and serious flood damage to his home and studio, Vincent van Gogh chose to enter the asylum in Saint-Rémy de Provence, France in May 1889. There, despite several disturbing relapses in the last year before his death, he created almost 130 paintings. Within the first week, he began Irises, working from nature in the asylum's garden. The cropped composition, divided into broad areas of vivid color with monumental irises overflowing its borders (Iris germanica and a single white Iris albicans), was influenced by the decorative patterning of Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, along with Pointillist color theory and Impressionist subject matter. Irises is considered to be one of van Gogh's most beautiful paintings, noted for its energetic brushwork, its luminosity and intensity of color, the isolation of the single white iris, and the low angle point of view.
There are no known drawings for this painting; Van Gogh himself considered it a study. His brother Theo quickly recognized its quality and submitted it (along with Starry Night over the Rhone) to the Salon des Indépendants in September 1889, writing Vincent of the exhibition: "[It] strikes the eye from afar. It is a beautiful study full of air and life." Each one of Van Gogh's irises is unique. He carefully studied their movements and shapes to create a variety of curved silhouettes bounded by wavy, twisting, and curling lines. The painting's first owner, French art critic Octave Mirbeau, one of Van Gogh's earliest supporters, wrote: "How well he has understood the exquisite nature of flowers!"
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