Tag: primitives

Another combo

Another combo emerged by coincidence. It was a painting I saw on somebody’s art website that immediately rang a bell.

The rather generic description of the file is Doors of triptych with donors. Depicted on the right are David receiving a message and on the left Solomon visited by the Queen of Sheba. The exotic setting is amplified by the man on the left in the right panel wearing an earring, which is quite unusual (imho). The side panels are located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the main panel is located in Rome, in the Colonna gallery (item 149 if I remember well). I have not been able to find a picture of the middle panel yet. It is supposed to depict the Adoration of the Magi (interesting, as the Magi seem to be a recurrent theme in the key paintings in my painting research)

Regarding the information on the side wings, I am relying for the most part on Wikipedia which is often incorrect. It doesn’t really matter that much, though, as it’s about the content, not the metadata.

The right panel, the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon, seems inspired by the Judgment of Otto by Dieric Bouts (detail shown here):

The Queen of Sheba and David are recurring themes in medieval art, so not very unusual.

Now both paintings side by side. Note Otto himself, the kneeling woman and the two men at the back.

The painting by Bouts is dated 1473, the Master’s around 1480. The likeness can be a coincidence, obviously. The Master panel seems to echo the classic Magi visit, with kneeling characters and gold gifts.

Bouts’s characters are well painted but stiff and elongated, and their faces are emotionless. There is more expression in the Master’s faces but at the same time they are sloppy and almost cartoonish.

Both painters were active in Brabant (Brussels and Louvain), so there is also a regional connection.

According to Wikipedia, the Master of the Legend of St Barabara is sometimes associated with Aert van den Bossche. I have been looking at a number of paintings by all of them and there is a huge variety in style, so I can’t say for definite. Another thing to keep in mind is that the painters did not work alone but had workshops and several hands worked on the paintings. And, as mentioned before, copyright was not an issue and stock images were widely used.

In any case, this is something to store in the research where I am trying to figure out the relationships and influences between the painters. As mentioned before, I’m particularly interested in Hugo van der Goes and the Master of Moulins/Jean Hey and the latter’s connection with Anne de Bretagne, the Rolin family and Margaret of Austria.


Do they know it’s not Christmas yet?

While I was looking for some reference materials, I came across two German (and sort of Dutch) Nativity scenes by Derick Baegert and Jan Joest van Kalkar. Both scenes were painted late 15th, early 16th century. Here are some of the other Nativities I’ve already posted in earlier posts. They all look very similar. It’s obvious copyright wasn’t an issue in the middle ages.

I wonder why these paintings inspired by other ones are often mirrored. Is it on purpose or is it a result of a copying process?

Nativity by Baegert
Columba altarpiece by Rogier van der Weyden for reference
Prado Nativity by Memling, for reference purposes
Nativity by Jan Joest
The Magi by Hugo van der Goes


Jean & the Master of Moulins

The arms of Jean VI Rolin. Ms 116, Autun

I know I said I was done with Hugo van der Goes, but here is one last addition.

The past couple days I have been compiling the results of the research I have done on the Jouster (see earlier post). Most of his biography is fairly clear, except the question whether or not he won the tournament in Valenciennes. First guess would be not, given his background but that’s not what I want to write about today.

I have some additional documentation on him that was on loose photocopies and papers inside an issue of an old 1900s magazine – L’Art Flamand Hollandais – about the French Primitives. The illustrations in the magazine are in black and white and sometimes that way you notice things that you wouldn’t otherwise. This is the case with a picture that is also on the internet page about Jean Hey but in colour.

The picture is a painting of Mary Magdalene by the Master of Moulins, aka Jean Hey (see earlier post).

When I saw this I was immediately reminded of two paintings.

One of them was the part with Etienne Chevalier and St Steven on the Melun dyptich by Jean Fouquet around 1450, because of the stance of the characters:

The second part of that dyptich is the famous Madonna/Agnes Sorel. I’ve always found the Madonna an odd and interesting but not necessarily beautiful painting. The red angels look pretty demonic.

But the first thing that came to mind was the Monforte painting by Hugo van der Goes:

Now if we mirror Mary Magdalene and put her next to the boys in the back:

Jean Hey is said to have been influenced by Hugo or even have been his pupil. Your guess is as good as mine.

But this is only half of it. Some art work done for Jean VI has been attributed to a collaborator or a follower of Jean Bourdichon, one of the top illuminators who was active during the second half 15th century- first quarter of the 16th. The magazine states Bourdichon is close to the Master of Moulins but not in what sense. I haven’t yet looked into the truth of this statement but in any case, the illustration accompanying this claim is a painting of the dauphin, attributed to Jean Bourdichon, which is now attributed to Jean Hay, according to Wikipedia. Another interesting fact is that Jean Bourdichon was a pupil of Jean Fouquet. I’m beginning to see all kind of interesting links forming.

Other work for Jean VI was done by an artist influenced by the master of the chronique scandaleuse (a chronicle about Louis XI). I haven’t looked into possible ties with the artists mentioned before. It’s definitely worth spending more research time on this.


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