I actually finished this years ago. The figure is an unfinished underpainting with the plan to do an experiment in Caravaggio chiaroscuro. But the grisaille against the rose madder lake background made me hesitate, I liked it too much. I had longed to make a chiaroscuro portrait so I was hesitant wether to continue or not. Other work came in the way and the decision was postponed.
One day an artist friend came by. She reacted with amazement. I trust her artistic intuition, so when telling her my plans, she said: No, it’s finished! You must see that!
She has guided me before in aesthetic dilemmas. I now do consider the painting finished, and I can—tail between legs—finally varnish it and deliver it to my brother.