While the world is burning around me (and while I’m seriously considering emigration), another Magi painting. This one is by Jan Gossaert, aka Mabuse.

The painting is dated around 1510-1515. Apparently it was attributed to Dürer for a while. I can see why. The man on the left, with the blond ringlets has a German feel to him, not just his face, but also the clothes and their colour. It’s like a German person in Italian clothes or I could totally be wrong. However, the name of the painter – Gossaert – is inscribed on the headdress of one of the magi:

It’s obvious that this painting was inspired by the Adoration by Hugo van der Goes but Gossaert has plundered other paintings and made some sort of collage.

The Magi painting postdates the Rolin Nativity so in that respect it is not so interesting for me to try and find links with Jean Hey. But I did came across a couple interesting links while preparing this post.

I’ve always found Gossaert an interesting painter and before lockdown I was painting a copy of his unknown gentleman (perhaps Bauduin of Burgundy) at the academy. The painting is still there, on my easel in the atelier, unfinished. I hope I can pick it up before summer.

The Magi painting above may have been commissioned by one of a few possible ‘of Burgundy’s’. According to Wikipedia this could have been David, but given the date that doesn’t seem so likely to me (but who am I?). Or Philip, another of Philip the Good’s illegitimate children. Apparently Jan Gossaert travelled around with him.

The most interesting thing to me is that Gossaert lived in Mechelen for a short time, which is not so odd, though, as he was popular with the court of Margaret of Austria. According to a catalogue I have here, he lived in the house of Conrad Meit, a sculptor. Turns out Conrad is the sculptor of the effigies of Margareta’s tomb in the Monastery of Brou, France. A few days ago, before I came to know of the above, I found some pictures of the grave in the family archives, one of which I posted on Instagram, so here is the lower effigy:

The Rolin I’m researching was a member of the Council of Mechelen, but that was before Gossaert was born. Margaret was painted as a child by Jean Hey/the Master of Moulins, who was the painter of the Rolin nativity. Who was influenced/maybe taught by Hugo van der Goes.

Margaret by Jean Hey, mirrored
Detail from the Monforte altar piece by Hugo van der Goes

I will have to keep circling around until I have all my answers.

Today I spent the whole day researching things, not for myself but for people who asked me questions about the Burgundians. Which is kind of weird, because I’m a linguist and trainee painter, not a historian. Anyway, I keep informing them of that. My next post will be about the painting of Anthony the Bastard because suddenly a strange mystery surrounding the depicted man has come to light. See you soon.

Tuduuuu… dramatic music.