My mind is currently a fuzzy cobweb of dark thoughts, irritation and frustration. I’ll try to create some order in my chaos, though. (Bound to fail).
Still going through the books I borrowed from the library, two of them for the second time as I had used them before. There is always something new to discover. The book about Hugo, which I borrowed for the first time, has a number of versions of the Lamentation, including a good and large picture of the Oxford fragment. The theory about the identity of the people depicted is not mentioned, though (see earlier post about the identity of John).
One of the miniatures I came across during research about the links between painters and miniaturists was the miniature below, one by the Maitre de la chronique scandaleuse. The chronique is a medieval chronicle about Louis XI, king of France and it was copied for a member of Dammartin family, according to the BnF’s info. This version includes a number of illustrations by an anonymous miniaturist. The miniatures date from somewhere end of 15th, beginning 16th century. Miniaturists were mostly not known by name and often worked in a team in ateliers so it’s often hard to identify them and attribute works to them with 100% certainty.
The miniature depicts Rene of Lorraine holding the hand of the corpse of Charles the Bold when he was lying in state after the Battle of Nancy. The miniature is not very realistic because there wasn’t much left of the Bold’s face when he was found in the ice. Also the wake was a gloomy affair with a lot of black velvet, instead of all the bright colours shown here. I am not even mentioning perspective. But the historical correctness is not of an issue here. The artist of the above miniature may be connected to the tournament guy I’m researching. Unfortunately, I can’t find a lot of clear pictures of his work online, but it’s virtually impossible to see these miniatures in real in normal times, let alone in covid times. Something on hold right now.
I want to try and figure out if there is a connection between the tournament guy and the Duchy of Brabant, and/or County of Flanders. The tournament guy is also connected to Charles the Bold, but I don’t know much about it yet, there is not a lot to go on. With Covid this is also a bit on hold.
There are a couple intriguing details about Hugo van der Goes I want to look into the coming days. He lived in Gent and worked for the duke and the duchess but after Charles the Bold was killed in Nancy in 1477 he suddenly left Gent to become a lay brother at the Rood Klooster near Brussels, in 1477 or 1478 depending on the source. One of the explanations I came across was that he was afraid of the political repercussions after the death of the duke. In any case, Hugo suffered from melancholy (as was said of Charles the Bold) and had the feeling he was doomed. There is also the rumour of a broken heart. Karel van Mander writes about it in his famous “Schilderboeck”.
“Daer is oock van Hughe een bysonder goet stuck, dat noch van alle Constenaers en Const-verstandighe niet vergheefs seer ghepresen is. Dit is te Ghent in een huys dat omwatert is, by het Muyde brughsken, te weten, het huys van Iacob Weytens, en is gedaen voor een schouwe oft schoorsteen op den muer van Oly-verwe, wesende d’historie van David en Abigail, daer sy hem te ghemoet comt. Hier is bysonder te verwonderen, wat een groote zedicheyt als in dese Vroukens te sien is, en wat een eerbaer soet wesen, welcker zedicheyt soo manierlijc is aen te sien, dat de Schilders van desen tijdt wel haer Vroukens daer mochten te schole seynden, op dat syse hen mochten af leeren: voort den David sit oock seer statelijck te Peerde: summa, t’werck is van teyckeninghe, inventie, actien, en affecten, alles uytnemende: want hier oock het affect der Liefden (so men seght) mede in gewrocht, en Cupido de Pinceelen heeft helpen stieren, in geselschap van zijn Moeder en de Gratien: want Huge noch vry geselle wesende, daer ten huyse vrijdde de dochter, daer hy seer op verlieft was, de welcke hy in’t stuck oock heeft nae t’leven ghedaen.”
When Hugo died he was probably about the same age as Charles the Bold. I am not sure of the cause of his death. I checked what Karel van Mander has to say about his death in his Schilderboeck but he just writes he doesn’t know where or when Hugo was buried (he was buried in the grounds of the monastery, nb).
To be continued.