Local Heart, Global Soul

April 5, 2019

Catherine, Your Details Are Showing…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m continuing today’ post from my one of yesterday, where I tried to show the detail painted in a painting called “St Barbara’.

Today’s post shows the other outer panel of what was an altarpiece triptych, this time a painting called; ‘St Catherine“.

The Mauritshuis in the Hague has a truly amazing collection of Old Masters, many of which are well known.

Sadly the painter called “The Master of Frankfurt” who painted these particular panels is not so well known or acclaimed, and wasn’t probably even from Frankfurt.

In my humble opinion this painter deserves to be more well known, and you don’t even need to be a specialist in Old Masters, an artist or art history buff to appreciate the skill seen in these paintings.

If you look carefully, in one of the photographs showing the lower right hand corner of the painting, there is one taller plant, and if you look carefully you will see near the flowering head of the plant some of the spokes of a semi-hidden wooden wheel upon which St Catherine stands.

This is of course reference to the wheel on which she was meant to be tortured, it is also depicted as a wheeled machine on top of the mountain as a tiny detail in the top left corner of the painting.

Wikipedia tells us: ‘The Master of Frankfurt (1460–c. 1533) was a Flemish Renaissance painter active in Antwerp between about 1480 and 1520.  The Mauritshuis archive” ‘The Master of Frankfurt‘ Painting: ‘ St Catherine’ (Belongs with ‘St Barbara’)This is the left wing of an altarpiece produced by a 16th-century Antwerp painter known only as the Master of Frankfurt. St Catherine turns towards the missing central panel, which contains a representation of the Holy Family with music-making angels (now at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

St Catherine holds a sword in one hand and a Bible in the other. This martyr was usually portrayed with a sword and a broken wheel, references to the instruments of her torture.

The emperor Maxentius had set his sights on her, but she rejected him. Furious, Maxentius devised a wheel as an instrument of torture, but it was destroyed by a thunderbolt (seen in the upper left-hand corner) before it could harm her. Maxentius then had her beheaded.

The saint’s sumptuous attire is striking. She wears a fancy gown made of costly fabric: golden brocade, white damask and a dazzling material of couleur changeant.”

Dazzling material is an understatement: the white damask has layers of detail as does the red and gold bodice.

But even better, the tiniest bits of the painting also shine: there are two people fishing from the bridge on the right hand side of the panel, the square links in the chain that drops down the front of her dress are perfect in form.

The hilt of the sword she carries is amazingly decorative, the tassels on the dress, the clasps in the book (not stated which book specifically, but possibly a Bible in order to emphasize her sainthood?).

The detail in the plants and flowers, the beautiful headdress (which was a bit too high up for me to photograph really well), are just some of the exquisite details that go together to make this Old Master a true masterpiece that deserves a wider audience.

The detail in these two panels is nothing short of stunning, and it can be assured that I will be stopping to renew my admiration of this pair of panels and their painter, every time I visit the Mauritshuis. The “Master of Frankfurt” may have been just a nickname, but even without true and one hundred percent final attribution to one exact person, the genius of skill that lies behind the painting of “St Barbara” and “St Catherine” deserve to come out of the shadows and into the spotlight center stage.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 4, 2019

Brilliance Indeed By The (Old) Master Of Frankfurt…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Visiting the Mauritshuis last summer I walked past two paintings standing side by side.  A quick first glace was enough to stop me in my tracks for a closer look, a much closer look. They were both by the artist “Meester van Frankfurt ‘

Wikipedia tells us:  ‘The Master of Frankfurt (1460–c. 1533) was a Flemish Renaissance painter active in Antwerp between about 1480 and 1520.

Although he probably never visited Frankfurt am Main, his name derives from two paintings commissioned from patrons in that city, the Holy Kinship (c. 1503) in the Frankfurt Historical Museum and a Crucifixion in the Städel museum.”

He is one of many anonymous artists identifiable by their painting style but not by name. The Master of Frankfurt is, however, often thought to be a Hendrik van Wueluwe, an artist famous in Antwerp around the same time as the anonymous painter but otherwise unconnected to any paintings.

His dated Self portrait of the artist with his wife in its original frame (1496; Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp) reveals that the artist was 36 years old at the time it was made, as well as a member of Antwerp’s Guild of St. Luke.

If he is the same artist as Van Wueluwe, then he was also dean of the guild six times. Attributed paintings include his self-portrait, the Festival of the Archers (1493; Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp), and the two paintings in Frankfurt.

The Master of Frankfurt is also known for painting numerous copies after earlier Netherlandish painters such as Rogier van der Weyden and Hugo van der Goes for the open market and for developing, around 1500 in Antwerp, a new artistic style alongside his more famous contemporary Quentin Metsys.

Attributed to the Master of Frankfurt, who also painted “Holy Family with Music Making Angels’, circa 1515, oil on panel, 156.2 cm × 155.9 cm (61.5 in × 61.4 in), which is located in th Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. “Holy Family with Music Making Angels” is the central panel of a triptych altarpiece.

The two side panels depict two virgin martyrs, St Catherine and St Barbara (now in the Mauritshuis, The Hague). ”

This painting, one of those side panels depicts: “St Barbara”, 1510-1520, oil on panel 158.7 x 70.8 cm (each), The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague.
These are the left and right panels of a triptych altarpiece. The central panel depicts the Holy Family with Music Making Angels (now in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool).’

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

St Barbara is the right hand panel of the triptych,  and apparently according to the Mauritshuis website,

To keep men at a distance, Barbara’s father locked her up in a tower. While imprisoned, she converted to Christianity.

The tower had two windows, but she had a third built, so that the three windows would symbolise the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

The tower thus became her attribute. In this painting she also holds a book and a large ostrich feather, the meaning of which is unclear.

The plants around Barbara’s feet – including a splendid dark blue iris in the left foreground – were painted with great precision.”

To say that the plants were painted with great precision almost implies that the rest of the painting was not, but nothing could be further from the truth, the entire panel screams detail upon detail, precision, exacting accuracy, clarity and sharpness.

As usual, photographing an oil painting under lights poses problems with glare, but the levels of detail make unveiling the “layers” in the painting a bit like peeling an onion. The detail in the plant, dress, background, decorative elements, fabric…except that peeling this “onion” might move you to cry tears of joy…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 1, 2019

The Old Master Detail Continues….

There are more paintings in the Mauritshuis that catch my eye and make me look closely at the detail that they exhibit. Some names like Hans Holbein I are well known, but others like Bartholomäus Bruyn I and Jan Mostaert are less known.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Bartholomäus Bruyn I (1493-1555) “Portrait of Elizabeth Bellinghausen (1520-after 1570) Painted 1538-39.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The first glace at this painting was confusing: we have a man who its in chains at a table laden with bread and drinks… what on earth could be going on here? Then I read the caption on the information board, which explains that this a painting illustrating one of the Bible’s most well known Old Testament stories: That of Pharaoh and Joseph and his technicolor coat. The Pharaoh has repeditive disturbing dreams that he can’t explain, but Joseph can…

Jan Mostaert (1475-1555/6)  “Joseph Explaining the dreams of the Baker and the Cupbearer” (painted circa 1500)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Hans Holbein II (1497/98- 15430) “Portrait of a Nobleman with a Falcon” painted 1542.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Hans Holbein II (1497/98- 15430) “Portrait of Robert Cheseman (1485-1547)” painted 1533.

“The Latin inscription tells us the identity of this nobleman: Robert Cheseman, 48 yeas old in 1533. Cheseman was the chief falconer to the English King Henry VIII, an honourabl position. He is stroking the bird on his hand with a tender gesture. The Garman painter Hans Holbein painted this masterpiece shortly after he settled for good in England. His amazing painting technique I shown to great advantage in the man’s intent gaze, the shiny satin of his sleeves and in the little brass bell.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Hans Holbein II (1497/98- 15430) “Portrait of Jane Seymour (1509?-1537)” painted 1540.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 31, 2019

Getting Close To The Old Masters…

Visiting the Hague’s Mauritshuis last summer, I found myself in a detail fanatic’s haven. The overhead lights on the paintings make taking photographs difficult but getting close to the canvas with the naked eye reveals detail upon detail. The artists differ and so do their styles but the attention to detail stays the same…

(Attributed to) Jacopo de’ Barbari (circa 1460-1516) “Portrait of Hendrick V (1479-1552), Duke of Mecklenburg ( painted 1507)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Han Memling (c1440-1494) “Portrait of a Man from the Lespinette Family” (painted circa 1485-1490).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Hans Holbein II (1597/98-1543) “Portrait of a Woman from Southern Germany” (painted circa 1620-1625).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Jacques Jordaens (1593 – 1678) “The Adoration of the Shepherds’

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Gerrit van Honthorst (1592-1656) “Portrait of Amalia of Solms (1602-1675)” painted circa 1632.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Gerrit van Honthorst (1592-1656) “Portrait of Frederik Hendrik (1584-1647) painted circa 1641.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), “Old woman and boy with candles (1616-1617)”, painted circa 1615-1617.

‘An old woman gazes ahead, shielding her eyes from the candlelight, whilst the boy behind her holds his candle, ready to be lit. The panel is painted in the style of Caravaggio, who’s work Rubens and seen in Italy. This style is charactorised by it’s exciting effects of light and unpolished naturalism. Rubens did not make this painting to be sold: instead he retained possession of it. He probably used it as it as study material for the pupils in his studio.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Even without flash, oil paint is extremely reflective so I tired to get photos from both lft and right of the painting…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), “Portrait of Michael Ophovins (1570-1637)”, painted circa 1615-1617.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 29, 2019

Marveling At Old Masters…

More paintings at the Mauritshuis, these old masters get more amazing the more you look at them. Painting black detail and textures on a black garment? Rubens makes it look easy…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Above  and Below) Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) “Portrait of a Man, possibly Peter van Hecke (1591-1645)” painted circa 1630.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) “Portrait of a Woman, possibly Clara Fourment (1593-1643)” painted circa 1630.

Visitors can loan an audio set to explain many of the paintings…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Amazing painting when seen up close, even the detail inside the back clothing, not to mention the feather…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) “Portrait of Quintijn Symons (1592- after 1646) painted circa 1634-1635.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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