In a surprising twist, visitors to the National Gallery in London are claiming that a 400-year-old portrait by Dutch painter Ferdinand Bol showcases a young boy donning a pair of Nike trainers. The painting, depicting an eight-year-old named Frederick Sluysken holding a goblet, has become a source of amusement for tourists who noticed the seemingly anachronistic footwear.
Fiona Foskett, a 57-year-old mother from the Isle of Wight, discovered the peculiar detail while exploring the museum with her 23-year-old daughter, Holly. Struck by the out-of-place sneakers, Foskett jokingly speculated whether the boy might be a time traveler. She recalled, “I was looking at the painting, and the trainers really stuck out to me. I said to my daughter, ‘Hold on, is he wearing a pair of Nike trainers?’ It had us in fits of laughter. He’s certainly a trendy-looking youngster. Looking at the age, he must have got his hands on the first pair of Nike trainers ever made. Or is he actually a time traveler?”
The National Gallery says, “We are delighted that this picture has been such a hit with our visitors. It resonated with followers when we put out a tweet asking people to see if they could spot a more ‘modern’ detail by taking a closer look at the shoes of the eight-year-old boy in the portrait.”
The mystery of the Nike-wearing young boy continues to tickle the fancy of museum-goers. The portrait of Frederick Sluysken adds a touch of unexpected humor to the historical art collection at the National Gallery.