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ART “4” “2”-DAY  06 May v.10.40
^ Died on 06 May 1642,
Born on 06 May 1581: Frans Francken II
, Flemish painter.
— The Francken were a family of Flemish painters active during five generations in the 16th and 17th centuries, mainly in Antwerp. The individual contributions of the many artists in the family are often difficult to assess, but the two most distinguished members were Frans Francken I (1542-03 Oct 1616) and his son Frans. The painters in the family include another son, Hieronymus Francken II [1578-1623], and
Franck Hieronymus Francken I [1540-1610], Franck Ambrosius Francken I, [1544 – 16 Oct 1618], Frans Francken III [1607 — 04 Sep 1667]
      Frans Francken I mainly painted religious and historical compositions. His early works were frequently life-size; the late ones were small, usually done on copper, and crowded with exotic figures and accessories.
      Frans II frequently adopted his father's subjects and style, but his range was wider. He painted landscapes and genre scenes as well as historical pictures, and was also one of the first artists to use the interior of a picture gallery as a subject, giving faithful miniature reproductions of the works in the collection. His paintings were even smaller and more crowded than his father's; they were also more colorful. Frans II was frequently employed by his fellow artists in Antwerp to paint the figures in their landscapes and interiors.

Allegory on the Abdication of the Emperor Charles V on 25 October 1555, in Brussels (1620, 134x172cm _ ZOOM) _ The painting is not an accurate record of the abdication of Charles V in Brussels; it is an imagined scene illustrating the end of the Habsburg Empire. In 1555 and 1556 Charles V divided the empire between his son Philip II and his brother Ferdinand. The Spanish and Netherlandish possessions went to Philip, while Germany passed to Ferdinand.
     Francken painted this work two-thirds of a century after the abdication of Charles V. It is not known why or for whom he made it. Francken shows the House of Habsburg at the time of Charles V's abdication as a world power. The continents of Europe, America, Africa and Asia pay tribute to the Emperor Charles. He is pictured as 'King of the Indies as well as of the continents on either side of the ocean and lord over Asia and Africa.'
     Enthroned at the center sits Charles V [1500 – on 21 Sep 1558], emperor of Germany, king of Spain, duke of Burgundy and sovereign of the Netherlands. He united the provinces of the Low Countries, giving them an autonomous position within the Holy Roman Empire. He is wearing the imperial crown. About his neck is the order of the Golden Fleece, which was instituted by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in 1430. This chivalric order was devoted to the defence of the Church. The sign of the order is the golden fleece of a ram hanging from a golden chain. Following the extinction of the Burgundian line the grand mastership passed to the Habsburgs: it was they who subsequently conferred the order.
      Behind Charles V hangs a tapestry bearing the double-headed eagle wearing the imperial crown, the arms of the Holy Roman Empire, which is what the German empire was called from the 10th to the 19th century. It was created in 962 when Otto I, king of Germany and Italy was crowned emperor by the Pope in Rome. This was Otto's reward for his support of the papacy. At the time, he held sway over Germany and Italy. The Holy Roman Empire was seen as the continuation of the Roman and Carolingian empires and the emperor as the defender of Christendom. In 1806 the Holy Roman Empire finally collapsed. The imperial crown had long been nothing but an empty title. The insignia of the empire - sceptre, orb and crown - lie before Charles V on a cushion. On either side of the small platform stand the successors to the throne, their feet just touching the edge of the carpet. On the left is Ferdinand, and on the right Philip II. Both are wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece.
     At the center right stand five women, two of whom - with sceptre, sword and orb - represent the Holy Roman Empire. The other three carry flags showing the arms of the seventeen Netherlandish provinces, eleven of which were under Spanish and five under Italian rule. The three women kneeling in the foreground represent - together with a man in a turban - the continents of America, Africa and Asia. They are bearing gifts.
     In the foreground left is the clear implication that Charles's empire was boundless. The two pillars represent the columns placed by the mythological hero Hercules at the Straits of Gibraltar, to mark the end of the world. The pillars are topped with the imperial crown and a banderole bearing Charles's motto 'Plus Ultra' (Further Still). The figure of Neptune with his trident, seen left, implies that the Habsburgs also rule the seas.
     In the background at the far left is an almost anecdotal detail: it shows the emperor in a coach drawn by mules setting off after his abdication for the monastery of San Yuste in Spain. It was there that Charles V died.
–- Passage of the Children of Israel through the Red Sea (35x45cm; 2/3 size, 217kb)
Crucifixion of Saint Andrew (framed 600x747pix, 183kb _ ZOOM to 1500x1868pix, 321kb)
Salomon Shows Solon his Treasures (framed 600x718pix _ ZOOM to 1500x1794pix, 318kb)
Damocles at Table (1619; framed 600x710pix _ ZOOM to 1500x1776pix, 303kb)
The Queen of Sheba Before Salomon (1619; framed 600x746pix _ ZOOM to 1500x1865pix, 348kb)
Interior of a Gothic Church (framed 600x751pix _ ZOOM to 1500x1877pix, 388kb)
Emblem of the Rhetoric group De Violieren of Antwerp (1618; lozenge framed 600x589pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1375pix _ ZOOM++ to 2469x2425pix in painted frame, 1069kb)
Worship of the Golden Calf (60x88cm) _ In the same period when the most talented artists in the country had gathered around Rubens in Antwerp, there were also other artists working in Antwerp who still clung to the taste of Rubens' predecessors. One of these was Frans II Francken, who painted Rockox's 'constcamer'. He was a very popular artist in his time, and although he lacked any outstanding imaginative power or great technical skill, his fame rests on his ability to convert monumental subjects from large-scale art works to proportions more suitable for private houses. The Worship of the Golden Calf is a typical example of the many religious and mythological scenes he painted.
Feast of Esther (55x69cm) _ A characteristic feature of Francken's painting is the additional episodes in the background including in this case the Triumph of Mordecai and the Execution of Haman.
Jesus among the Doctors (1587, 250x220cm center panel, 250x97cm wings) _ Following the restoration of Spanish rule and Catholic worship in Antwerp in 1585, the city fathers ordered the crafts and guilds to reinstall their altars in the Cathedral. Among the first to respond were the Schoolmasters and the Soap-boilers, who shared an altar in the church. They contracted Frans Francken to paint a triptych showing Jesus among the Doctors. (The left wing depicts Saint Ambrose Baptizing Saint Augustine,the right wing The Miracle of the Flowing Oil.) The scenes plainly have most to do with the schoolmasters. The centre panel shows the episode from St Luke's Gospel in which the twelve-year-old Jesus debates theology with the Jewish scribes in the Temple at Jerusalem. His parents, who have found him after a long search, look somewhat dejected. The Temple is represented by a Renaissance church interior with a menorah and the Ark of the Covenant in the background. The left wing shows Ambrose, the patron saint of Antwerp's schoolmasters, baptizing Saint Augustine in the presence of a canon-scholaster and several council members from the Schoolmasters' Guild. The only reference to the Soap-boilers is in the right wing, where the Bible story of the Miracle of the Flowing Oil is depicted. The prophet Elisha helped the widow of Zarephath out of debt by causing her oil jug to continuously replenish itself — an appropriate theme, for oil was one of the ingredients used by the soap-boilers. The style of the triptych is sober and didactic, as befits the schoolmasters, if not the soapmakers. The balanced composition with its symmetrically arranged groups and the restrained presentation of the principal theme, without many secondary scenes or symbols, is characteristic of the Italian Renaissance, the latest artistic trend at the time.
Art Room (1636, 74x78cm) _ In the 17th century there were several royal collections in which 'naturalia' - objects found in nature such as pearls and shells - were mixed with 'arteficialia' - precious man-made objects including coins, medals, paintings, sculptures, Nautilus goblets, astronomical gadgetry, etc. Scientific thought in the early modern era was governed by the principle of 'curiositas' (curiosity or inquisitiveness), thus these collections were centres of expansive research. The painting of Frans Francken II shows a good example.
An Antique Dealer's Gallery (1620) This captures the atmosphere of such places at the beginning of the 17th century and shows a large display of paintings hanging in two rows.
Sebastiaan Leerse in his Gallery (77x114cm) _ Apart from paintings dealing with social customs and mores, there was a great demand from contemporary patrons of the arts for decorative canvases. An attractive example is provided by the large number of art gallery paintings, a specialism which arose in the 17th century, in which the patron is portrayed in the midst of his collection, and in which the artist expresses the ideas and attitudes of his time. Frans Francken II, who painted the Antwerp merchant Sebastiaan Leerse in his Gallery together with his second wife and their son, was a master in this field. Paintings of this kind have both aesthetic and documentary value, as the depicted paintings could largely be identified.
Madonna and Child in a Landscape (painted with Abraham Govaerts)
An Assembly of Witches
Supper at the House of Burgomaster Rockox (1635)
Pictura, Poesis and Musica in a Pronkkamer (1636, 93x123cm)
A Picture Gallery With A Man Of Science Making Measurements On A Globe (1612, 89x109cm)
The interior of a picture gallery (54x75cm)
Collector’s Gallery (115x148cm; 486x620pix, 97kb _ ZOOM to 879x1120pix, 326kb _ ZOOM+ to 1758x2240pix, 1236kb) from the workshop of Francken.
22 images at Ciudad de la Pintura
^ Died on 06 May 1475: Dieric (or Dirk, Dierick, Thierri) Bouts the Elder, Dutch painter born in 1412, who, while lacking the grace of expression and intellectual depth of his great Flemish contemporaries Rogier van der Weyden [1400 – 18 Jun 1464] and Jan van Eyck [<1395 – <09 Jul 1441], was an accomplished master. — {He had his bouts of creativity.} — {Malgré qu'il avait quatre petits Bouts (de choux?), il n'avait aucun mal à joindre les deux bouts, grâce à sa femme aptement surnommée “Kiyal Frick”.}
— Dieric Bouts the elder presumably was trained in his native Haarlem. About 1447or 1448 he married Katharina van der Bruggen [–1472], alias Metten Ghelde (‘with the money’), the daughter of a wealthy citizen of Leuven in Brabant, where by 1457 he had settled and established a sizeable workshop. They had four children: Dieric Bouts II [1449-1491], Aelbrecht Bouts, Katharina, and Gertrud. After the death of his first wife, Dieric Bouts I married Elizabeth van Voshem, daughter of a former mayor of Leuven. They had no children. The sons of the first marriage were both trained as painters, and Dieric Bouts the younger apparently inherited his father’s shop in 1475, while Albrecht established his own workshop, also in Leuven. Although Dieric II is mentioned in the archives of Leuven, no paintings can be assigned to him with certainty, whereas a number can be ascribed to Albrecht. At least one of Dieric II’s sons, Jan Bouts [1478-1530], became a painter.
— Dieric Bouts I is mentioned several times in the archives of Leuven between 1457 and his death, although his name is sometimes confused with that of Hubrecht Steurbout, another painter in Leuven. In 1468 Bouts was named official painter to the city. Bouts excelled as an innovator in depicting the countryside. Bouts was also a founder of the Haarlem school of painting along with Albert van Ouwater and Geertgen tot Sint Jans. However, it is his representation of landscape that is still recognized as his principal contribution to 15th-century Netherlandish painting.
— Bouts came from the Northern Netherlands. He would seem to have been born in Haarlem, but no documentation has survived to prove this. What we do know for certain is that he worked in Louvain and that a certificate issued by that town on 12 July 1476 describes him as being of foreign origin: "nativi ex patriam". We do not know when he was born, only that it must have been some time between 1410 and 1420. Nor do we know who his masters were, though the influence of Rogier Van der Weyden is so clearly visible that it seems likely he may have worked in Rogier's studio in Brussels.
      He married Katherina Van der Brugghen, the daughter of a rich Louvain family, no later than 1448. She bore him four children. The two boys, Dieric II and Albert, were later to become painters like their father. The name of Bouts is first recorded in the Louvain archives in 1457. Thenceforward, it reappears in connection both with the purchase or inheritance of property and with commissions for various paintings. From this very first mention, Bouts is described as a painter: "Dieric Bouts schildere" (1457), for example, or "Theodorum Bouts pictor ymaginum " (1458). The fact that nine years elapsed between his marriage and the first mention of his name in the city records at Louvain has led certain historians and biographers to suggest that Bouts returned to Haarlem during this time, where they see him exerting a certain influence on the Northern school of artists.
      In late 1468 or early 1469, Bouts was appointed "official painter of the town of Louvain". He was widowed, and remarried in 1473, taking as his second wife one Elisabeth Van Voshem. He died two years later, on 06 May 1475, and was buried in the Minderbroerderkerk, the Franciscan church of Louvain, which stood close by his house. The earliest works to have been attributed to Bouts are the three panels of the Triptych of the Virgin, and various versions of the Virgin and Child. These paintings are very close in style to Rogier Van der Weyden, sometimes so close as to be virtually undistinguishable. It is with the Descent from the Cross, in the cathedral at Granada, that a truly personal style begins to emerge. In the Entombment, Bouts took Van der Weyden's model and totally transformed its meaning.
      Dieric Bouts has sometimes been referred to simply as a portrait painter, so exceptional were his achievements in this genre. His Portrait of a Man (1462) is an absolute masterpiece for example. Besides the remarkable Portrait of a Man, few of Bouts's paintings can be attributed to him or even dated with any great certainty. Of those that can, the three most important pieces are the Triptych of the Martyrdom of St Erasmus, in the collegiate church of St Peter in Louvain, the Altarpiece of the Holy Sacrament, in the same church, and the diptych The Justice of Emperor Otto III. This diptych belongs to the genre of the justice scene. It was painted by Bouts towards the end of his life for the council room in the town hall at Louvain, which had been completed in 1460. His style was highly influential and was continued by his two sons, Dieric the Younger [1448-1490] and Aelbrecht [1455-1549].
— Little is known of Bouts's early years in Haarlem, although it is possible that he studied in Brussels with van der Weyden, whose influence is obvious in his early works. In 1448 he visited Louvain in the southern Netherlands, where he married the daughter of a local merchant. After 1457 his name appeared almost every year in the archives of Louvain. Bouts's earlier works, dated on stylistic evidence before 1457, are strongly Rogierian in their expression of strong emotion through symbolic gestures. Passionate subjects such as “The Entombment,” “Pietà,” and scenes of the Crucifixion, descent from the Cross, and the Resurrection depicted in an impressive triptych in the Royal Chapel in Granada, Spain, were appropriate vehicles for this expression. They lack Rogier's anatomical correctness, however, and Bouts's compositions appear stiff and angular; these differences are perhaps due as much to the sober religious intensity of the northern Netherlands in comparison with the more relaxed spirit of Flanders as to a deficiency in skill or feeling. The overall design of Bouts's early works shows the influence of the elegant and intellectual van Eyck.
      In the paintings ascribed to Bouts's mature period after he settled in Louvain, van der Weyden's influence gives way to a greater severity and dignity in the treatment of figures; there is a shift toward grander, more allegorical subjects as well. The facial expressions of thefigures in these paintings show an extraordinary restraint that appears as a deliberately controlled intensity with great spiritual effect. Bouts's two best-known works, which exemplify all of these characteristics of his mature style, belong to the last 20 years of his life. One, ordered by the Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament for the Church of St. Peter in Louvain in 1464, is a triptych, the wings of which are divided into two smaller panels, one above the other. The central panel represents the Last Supper, and on the wings are shown four scenes from the Old Testament foreshadowing the institution of the Eucharist: the “Feast of the Passover,” “Elijah in the Desert,” the “Gathering of Manna,” and “Abraham and Melchisedek.” The second painting, commissioned by the city of Louvain in 1468, the year in which Bouts became official painter to the city, was to be an ambitious project on the theme of the Last Judgment, but the work remained uncompleted at Bouts's death. Panels representing heaven and hell survive, as well as two thematically related panels illustrating an episode from the legend of the Holy Roman emperor Otto III.
— Justus of Ghent was an assistant and Bartholomäus Zeitblom a student of Bouts.

The Annunciation (1470; 600x743pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1734pix, 496kb _ ZOOM++ not recommended to blurry 2280x2824pix, 821kb)
Tetraptych Mary Altarpiece (1470; 600x743pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1734pix, 496kb _ ZOOM++ not recommended to blurry 1472x3424pix, 821kb) _ The panels depict: 1. the Annunciation; 2. Mary meets Elizabeth; 3. the Nativity; 4. the Adoration by the Magi.
Virgin and Child about to kiss (22x17cm; 1009x707pix, 166kb) Mary with blue scarf, plain dark background — badlinkSF#>Virgin and Child about to kiss (1460, 26x20cm; full size, 200kb) Mary with red scarf, ornate background (from the studio of Bouts) _ Born and trained in Haarlem, Dieric Bouts spent most of his life in Leuven working for Flemish aristocrats. The composition of this exquisite painting derives from that of the Cambrai Madonna, a 14th-century Italian copy of a Byzantine icon then thought to be a miraculous image painted by Saint Luke. Because of the heightened realism of Bouts's technique, the figures have a compelling lifelike quality. These two replicas by Bouts himself and several by others, attest the popularity of the image.
— a different The Virgin and Child (30x21cm; 1165x800pix, 148kb) Child facing front and making a blessing gesture with left hand, forest background _ Some doubt persists as to the authorship of this small painting. It has been identified as originating from the circle surrounding Dieric Bouts, of whose origins we know little with any certainty. He probably came from Haarlem, and learned his artist's trade in the Southern Netherlands where he was strongly influenced by Rogier van der Weyden. He received major commissions from the civil and ecclesiastical authorities in Louvain. The panel in question was intended to move the viewer to reflection. Mary, the most virtuous of all women, is portrayed here as the incarnation of the contemporary ideal of beauty, with her long, pale face and the raised hair-line. — a third variation of Mary and Child (1465, 37x28cm)
Virgin and Child (600x416pix _ ZOOM to 1400x971pix _ ZOOM++ to 3264x2264pix, 1270kb) Child lying in Mary's hands, head turned in brief pause from nursing, Mary with red scarf, plain wall background.
Virgin and Child (1465; 600x437pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1019pix _ ZOOM++ to 3112x2264pix, 949kb) Child sitting, Mary with blue scarf about to nurse Him, window and tapestry background.
Maria met Kind in een besloten tuin (600x428pix _ ZOOM to 1400x998pix _ ZOOM++ to 3176x2264pix, 1270kb) _ Mary, standing full length, and Child, in a private garden.
Christ in the House of Simon (1445, 40x61cm, 770x1139pix, 166kb _ ZOOM to 1400x2060pix, 368kb) _ Dirk Bouts came from Haarlem, where he doubtless received his early training. Later he settled in the university city of Louvain, where his major work can still be seen in the Church of St Peter. When he was appointed City Painter in 1468, he was already over fifty years old. The Berlin panel, as its close likeness to the work of Aelbert Ouwater suggests, must have been one of his earlier works. The story of Jesus's visit to the house of Simon the Pharisee is told in Saint Luke's Gospel (vii, 36-50). A woman from the city followed Christ there, 'and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.' Simon condemned the attitude of his guest, saying : 'This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him; for she is a sinner.' Christ answered with a parable and the words: 'Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.' In a narrow, vaulted room, on the left of which is a window providing a glimpse of a landscape, Simon sits with his guests at a table laid for a meal. On the left of the table the sinner bends down to anoint Jesus's feet. The host, the only one present wearing shoes, and Peter beside him, observe the incident with astonishment and disapproval. The youthful John at the head of the table seems to be drawing to it the attention of the donor, a Dominican friar, who kneels with hands joined in prayer and seems not to have noticed. The arrangement of the figures at a laid table recalls two other themes from the life of Christ, the Last Supper and the Miracle at Emmaus, incidents which were frequently represented in painting and, furthermore, established a pictorial tradition of their own. Here the table is laid with symbols of Communion and of Christ: bread, wine and fish (one whole fish with head and all, on a plate, for every two eaters, the larger fish is before Christ and the host). The composition of the various objects represents one of the most delightful still-lifes in old Netherlandish painting. Among the vessels on the table one can recognize, in the center, a late medieval knobby glass known as a Krautstrunk (cabbage-stalk).
Pietà (600x349pix _ ZOOM to 1400x814pix _ ZOOM++ to 3232x2344pix, 1117kb)
The Entombment (1450, 90x74cm) _ detail _ One of the leading Netherlandish artists of his time, Bouts lived in Leuven, where he furnished paintings for the town hall, and executed both private devotional pictures and altarpieces. The Entombment is remarkably well preserved considering its fragile technique. The picture was probably part of a series of scenes from the life of Christ forming a large shuttered altarpiece, and may have been painted on a lightweight cloth support, rolled like a carpet for export to Italy, where it was recorded in the nineteenth century. Like many such works, it has painted borders, which would have served as a guide to re-stretching the picture once it reached its destination. The paint layers, composed of pigment mixed in a water-soluble glue medium, were applied directly onto the fabric, so that they sank into it. The retention of moisture by the canvas enabled the painter to blend the brushwork to achieve smooth transitions, an effect which Bouts has used with greatest subtlety in the landscape. Details, however, had to be added with a light touch so as not to redissolve the first paint layers, and the modelling of the faces, for example, is reinforced with rapid hatching. Although the colors would never have had the brilliance of oils, some pigments have discolored: parts of the sky which were protected by an earlier frame can be seen to be more blue than those below, which have accumulated surface grime. The burial of Christ after the crucifixion is described in the Gospels and retold in more pathetic detail in the devotional literature of the time. For greater immediacy, the figures are dressed in contemporary clothes. Bouts carefully differentiates the grief of each one. The three Maries are shown from the front, from the left and from the right, their eyes all downcast. One wipes her tears, another covers her mouth, the third holds Christ's arm to place it gently in the tomb. She is supported by John who casts a lingering last look at his Master. Joseph of Arimathea holds Christ's shoulders, reverently touching the body only through the linen cloth, like a priest at Mass holding up the host. Nicodemus, a secret follower of Jesus, lowers the feet into the tomb, while the repentant sinner, Mary Magdalene, looks up into the face of Christ - the only one of the women to lift her eyes. Christ's body is carefully turned so that we may see the wound in his side and the blood, which also refers to the Eucharist. The artist's intentions are clear. He sought to arouse, in a viewer kneeling at the altar preparing to receive the body of the Savior, those same feelings of grief and wonder which we can still see in the painted figures.
Resurrection (1460, 89x72cm) _ detail _ The painting is on of the panels of the Crucifixion Altarpiece, together with the London Entombment. The central panel was probably the Crucifixion in Brussels.
Paradise (1450, 115x70cm) _ A documented work by Bouts, a triptych of the Last Judgment, has unfortunately not survived. Two panels, representing Hell and Paradise, in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lille, were long believed to be part of this work. However, recent research has shown that this is not the case.
Hell (1450, 115x70cm) _ A documented work by Bouts, a triptych of the Last Judgment, has unfortunately not survived. Two panels, representing Hell and Paradise, in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lille, were long believed to be part of this work. However, recent research has shown that this is not the case.
Gerechtigheid van Keizer Otto III. Vuurproef en Onthoofding van de Onschuldige Graaf (1473; 600x349pix _ ZOOM to 1400x814pix _ ZOOM++ to 3400x1976pix; 1153kb). _ In 996, heeding an appeal by Pope John XV for help in putting down a rebellion led by the Roman noble Crescentius II, the German king Otto III [Jul 980 – 23 Jan 1002] crossed the Alps. Declared king of Lombardy at Pavia, he reached Rome after the Pope's March 996 death, whereupon he secured the election of his cousin Bruno of Carinthia as Gregory V [972 – 18 Feb 999], the first German pope. Gregory, who crowned Otto emperor on 21 May 996, was driven from Rome after the Emperor's return to Germany by Crescentius, who in May 997 installed John XVI [–02 Apr 1013] as (anti)pope. The Emperor marched back into Italy in late 997; taking Rome in February 998, deposed John (and had his eyes plucked out, and his nose and ears cut off), and reinstated Gregory. Crescentius had entrenched himself in the Castle of Sant'Angelo, which Otto III captured at Easter 998 (17 April); he had Crescentius suffer ordeal by fire and had him beheaded on 29 April 998 (the scene in the painting).
Portrait of a Man (1462, 31x20cm) _ Dieric Bouts has sometimes been referred to simply as a portrait painter, so exceptional were his achievements in this genre. For example, his Portrait of a Man — one of the few paintings by Bouts which can be attributed to him or even dated with any great certainty — is an absolute masterpiece. Although relying entirely on harmonic variations of brown, incorporating tints of pink or mauve, Bouts here went as far, perhaps, as it is possible to go in the exploration of the human face. His drawing is always rigorous and self assured. Here, he uses it to accentuate the articulation of the hands, emphasizing the veins and lines.
^ Died on 06 May 1629: Otto van Veen, Flemish Mannerist painter born in 1556. From 1575 to 1580 he was in Italy where he was a student of Federico Zuccaro [1542-1609], and after working in various places in Germany and Flanders he settled in Antwerp in 1592. He was an uninspired Mannerist painter, but he had a successful career by modeling his work on Italian masters such as Correggio [1490-1534] and Parmigianino [1503-1540] (The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine, 1589). His love of Italian art and his scholarly inclinations (he often Latinized his name to Octavio Vaenius) must have been appreciated by Rubens [1577-1640], who had his final training in van Veen's studio. It was also van Veen who advised Rubens to go to Italy in 1600.

Distribution of herring and White Bread at the Relief of Leiden, 03 October 1574
Batavians Defeating the Romans on the Rhine (1613) _ Batavorum cum Romanis bellum a Cornelio Tacito libro IV. et libro V. historiarum olim descriptum:
Civilis [dux Batavorum] ... Canninefatis, Frisios, Batavos propriis cuneis componit: derecta ex diverso acies haud procul a flumine Rheno et obversis in hostem navibus, quas incensis castellis illuc adpulerant. nec diu certato Tungrorum cohors signa ad Civilem transtulit, perculsique milites improvisa proditione a sociis hostibusque caedebantur. eadem etiam navibus perfidia: pars remigum e Batavis tamquam imperitia officia nautarum propugnatorumque impediebant; mox contra tendere et puppis hostili ripae obicere: ad postremum gubernatores centurionesque, nisi eadem volentis, trucidant, donec universa quattuor et viginti navium classis transfugeret aut caperetur.
Pietà with Angels (1589; 772x556pix, 204kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1008pix, 317kb)
Christ with Martha and Mary (1598; 632x430pix, 41kb _ ZOOM to 1400x953pix, 183kb)
Sinite Parvulos (145x118cm) _ It illustrates Matthew 19: 13-15, Mark 10: 13-16, Luke 18: 15-18.
The Last Supper (1592, 350x2247cm) _ Jesus and his disciples take their meal in a room with columns, oil-lamps, a sofa and an amphora that give it a classical feel. A glowing light in the dark background illuminates the Bible. The artist shows the moment at which Christ blesses the bread and wine before his agitated disciples. Christ has just suggested that one of them would betray him. They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, 'Surely, not I?' To the viewer, however, it is clear that the man who turns away from the group as his wine is poured and who secretively clutches a purse is the traitor Judas. The painting originally served as an altarpiece in a chapel devoted to the Eucharist. It is considered to be one of Van Veen masterpieces.
Nicolaas Rockox (26x35cm)_ Nicolaas Rockox [1560-1640] was the burgomaster (mayor) of Antwerp. His fame is largely attributed to his friendship to Rubens and the commissions he gave to this artist. His 17th-century patrician is housing a fine collection of Flemish art.
Death with the three orders of Church, State and People (diameter 29 cm) _ In this painting Death hovers over the Pope, the Emperor, and the Peasant standing in a landscape. A lettered banner is by each one: 'I pray for you all' ( the pope); 'I rule you all' (the Emperor); 'I feed you all' (the peasant). 'a bitter unavoidable end comes, common to all' (Death).
Zeuxis Painting Helen of Troy (rough sketch) _ This drawing was made on paper prepared with a warm, orange-brown wash. The artist sketched his composition in dark brown oil paints, then added highlights in opaque white. The white was sometimes mixed with small amounts of brown to create creamy skin tones. In many places, the orange-brown color of the paper is left bare. The subject of this oil sketch is an anecdote from the Pliny's Natural History. According to legend, the great painter Zeuxis was commissioned to paint an image of Helen of Troy. The artist asked the five most beautiful women in the city of Cronos to come to his studio and model for the figure. He selected the most beautiful characteristics of each woman, combining their qualities to create an image of "perfect" beauty. In the drawing, van Veen displays the various women's beautiful features (backside, profile, torso, etc.), exhibiting his skill at portraying the nude form. In the Renaissance and Baroque eras the story of Zeuxis Painting Helen of Troy was thought to illustrate the importance of good judgement for artists. The scene sometimes decorated artists' homes, and a 1570 painting in the Florentine residence of the Italian artist/biographer Giorgio Vasari may have served as a prototype for van Veen's composition. The drawing is of special historical importance because it may be the only surviving document recording the composition of a lost van Veen painting mentioned in Carel van Mander's Shilderboek of 1604 (a Zeus (Zeuxis?) with Five Nude Female Figures). The painting is thought to have served as a model for Rubens's later representation of the subject in a cycle of paintings decorating the exterior of his home.
Died on a 06 May:

2003 Geoffrey Bardon, 63, of cancer, Australian schoolteacher and painter who inspired aborigines in Papunya to produce distinctive artwork. For example [below] Riley Major Tjangala's Old Woman and Python Dreaming (1998, 91x61cm), which shows designs associated with the large permanent water site of Muruntji, southwest of Mount Liebig. In the Dreamtime (the mythical time of the world's creation) an old woman, Kutunga Napanangka, traveled from the west to this site. She was accosted by a group of young boys, she caught and killed them with the exception of one who escaped. She then cooked them and placed them in a coolamon which she carried on her head. She then changed form and turned into a python.

1953 Rafael Pellicer, Spanish Painter.
El Juicio Final _ ceiling fresco. —(100506)

^ 1903 José Jiménez y Aranda, Spanish painter born on 07 February 1837.— Relative? of Luis Jiménez Aranda [21 Jun 1845 – 1928]? — José was trained in Seville by Manuel Cabral and by Eduardo Cano de la Peña, showing an early interest in genre painting. This was perhaps due to the tradition of Romanticism in Seville, and Jiménez Aranda was already exhibiting pictures of this type at the Exposición Nacional in Madrid in 1864. He went to Rome, where he befriended Mariano José Bernardo Fortuny y Marsal [1838-1874], becoming the most representative of his Spanish followers. Jiménez Aranda attempted to exploit Fortuny y Marsal’s style, known as Fortunismo or ‘preciosity’, and concentrated on the small genre painting or tableautin, with which he gained remarkable success. Fortuny y Marsal’s influence can be seen in such works by Jiménez Aranda as Room behind An Apothecary Shop and The Bibliophiles (1879). These often ironic paintings look back to the 18th century and have something of the atmosphere of the works of Goya. However, the skilled draftsmanship, detailed execution, and fine brushwork, often bring them closer to the style of Ernest Meissonier [1815-1891] than to the minute detailing and brilliant touch of Fortuny y Marsal. Jiménez Aranda also lived in Paris, where his Spanish tableautin achieved notable success. About 1890 he became influenced by realism and was later interested in the problems of painting light as a result of his contact with Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida [1863-1923] and Gonzalo Bilbao y Martínez [1860–].
Los dos pintores (284x420pix, 66kb)
Un lance en la plaza de toros (1870; 346x300pix)

1903 Franz Seraph von Lenbach, German painter born (full coverage) on 13 December 1836. —(060505)

1849 Jacques Nicolas Paillot de Montabert, French painter and author born (main coverage) on 06 October 1771 (or possibly on some day in December 1771). —(080504)

^ 1840 James Sillett (or Selleth), English painter born in 1764. — {Was it said that silly Selleth selleth solely to solitary souls?}— Although born and bred in Norwich and a senior contemporary of John Crome, Sillett cannot really be counted as a member of the “Norwich School” despite being a member of the Norwich Society and even serving as its president in 1815. He did his academic artistic training during a long apprenticeship at the Royal Academy schools between 1781 and 1790 and it is probably this separation from his roots that caused him to pursue a different method and technique from his earlier fellow painters. James Sillett was a prolific producer of paintings with nearly 350 recorded works, although a considerable number have since been lost. His oeuvre was varied and included fruit, flowers, game, miniatures and landscapes. The early part of his professional career was taken up with ornamental and heraldic work and he also painted scenery for both Covent Garden and Drury Lane theatres. He progressed to still life and flower painting and continued to execute these almost exclusively until well into the nineteenth century. He lived in Covent Garden until his return to Norwich in 1803 moving soon after to King’s Lynn before returning to Norwich in 1810 where he remained until his death in 1840. It was while he was in his native county that he started to produce landscapes, spurning the look of the local school and working more in the style of George Barret and Joseph Farington. The result was highly attractive and accomplished paintings. although he never exhibited this subject matter outside Norfolk. Sillett exhibited 49 times at the principal London exhibitions with 43 at the Royal Academy which included titles such as An Auricula, Snake, thistle and insects, Hen and chickens alarmed by a hawk and The red grouse or moorcock in addition to the abundance of still lifes of fruit and flowers.
A still life of roses, narcissi, delphiniums and other flowers in a glass vase on a ledge (46x38cm; 452x372pix, 72kb)

1684 Heyman Dullaert, Dutch artist born (main coverage) on 06 February 1636. — {Hey, man! Dullard Dullaert produced dull art?} —(080504)

^ 1679 Nicolas Pierre Loir (or Loyr), French painter and engraver born in 1624. He was the son of a goldsmith and studied under Simon Vouet and Sébastien Bourdon. He was most influenced, however, by Nicolas Poussin during a visit to Italy (1647–1649) and is said to have made copies of his work. On his return to France he was commissioned in 1650 to paint the May of Notre-Dame, a painting annually presented by the goldsmiths’ guild, on a subject from the Acts of the Apostles. Loir’s painting (in situ) was Saint Paul Striking Blind the Sorcerer Elymas: it was strongly influenced by Raphael. Working for Parisian collectors, he painted altarpieces for churches, such as Saint Mary of Egypt, and decorations for town houses, such as the Hôtel de Vigny and the Hôtel de La Ferté-Senneterre (since destroyed). He made several paintings in the tradition of Poussin on biblical subjects; these included Eliezer and Rebecca. He also painted a number of versions of the Holy Family, which he himself engraved several times. In 1663 he was admitted (reçu) by the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture on the recommendation of Charles Le Brun and Louis XIV himself, but did not submit his morceau de réception until 1666. This painting, the Allegory of the Progress of the Arts, shows the influence of both Le Brun and Poussin. From 1668 Loir received a regular pension from the King and was mostly employed on royal building projects: he worked at the Gobelins, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and particularly at the Tuileries, Paris (since destroyed), and at Versailles, for which he painted seven pictures (1671–1679) for the Appartement de la Reine, of which one survives. Three were exhibited at the Salon of 1673. Loir was a skilful and inventive painter but lacked inspiration. He helped to propagate Poussin’s academic classicism in the age of Louis XIV.

^ 1452 Bicci di Lorenzo, Italian artist born in 1373. Bicci di Lorenzo (not to be confused with his father Lorenzo di Bicci) was the second important head of workshop in Florence that passed from father to son for more than a century. He was trained by his father and spent his whole career in Florence painting altarpieces and frescoes for the churches and hospitals of the city and surrounding countryside. Bicci employed many artists in his workshop who collaborated with him, these included his son Neri di Bicci [1419-1491] who took over the workshop after his death.
Madonna and Child with Angels (81x54cm; 1/4 size, 53kb _ ZOOM to 3/8 size _ ZOOM+ to half~size)
Saint Anthony and Saint Stephen (154x55cm; 1/6 size, 27kb _ ZOOM to 1/4 size _ ZOOM+ to 1/3 size)
Saint John the Baptist and Saint Miniato (157x55cm; 1/6 size, 32kb _ ZOOM to 1/4 size _ ZOOM+ to 1/3 size)
Saint Nicholas Rebuking the Tempest (1433, 28x59cm; 305x635pix, 98kb __ ZOOM to 1350x2835pix) _ detail (375x529pix, 42kb) _ This scene, once part of an altarpiece, shows Saint Nicholas, in bishop’s robes and full flight, as the patron saint of sailors. A ship lists to one side, its sail torn, its mast broken. A cargo bundle is being jettisoned. Bicci di Lorenzo dragged white paint over the blue-green color below to suggest the wild sea spray and motion of the waves. Invoked by one sailor’s desperate prayer, Nicholas comes to the rescue and as he does, a mermaid or siren, symbolizing the evil sea-spirits, swims away.
Pala a sportelli (500x421pix, 38kb)
Madonna che allatta il Bambino (443x321pix, 132kb) —(060504)

Born on a 06 May:

1924 Néstor Basterrechea (or Basterretxea) Arzadun, Spanish Basque sculptor, painter, and movie director. —(090505)

^ 1898 Francisco Bores López, Spanish painter who died in May 1972. — {It may or may not be true that Bores bores boars, Bores bores boors, Bores bores Boers. But if Bores bores you, just skip to the next painter}— He began his training in Madrid in the studio of the painter Cecilio Plá [1860–1934] and as a copyist in the Museo del Prado; among the works he copied were paintings by Titian, Velázquez and Goya. In Madrid he became associated with intellectuals involved with the avant-garde and produced illustrations for journals such as España, Alfar, Revista de Occidente and Cruz y Raya. In 1925, after taking part in the important Exposición de artistas Ibéricos in Madrid, he settled in the Montparnasse district of Paris, where he became associated with Picasso, Gris and other Spanish artists. He also became friends with Derain and Matisse. — LINKS
Le Marin (1932, 146x113cm)
Nature morte à l'antique (1963, 89x116cm)
Still Life (1950, 73x92cm)
Nature morte à l'antique (1963, 89x116cm)
Still Life with Curtain (60x73cm)
Nature morte sur le mur (1927, 73x100cm)
Composición (1927, 54x65cm)
–- Au Bas (1932, 81x65cm; 780x628pix, 46kb)
–- Nature Morte Avec Oiseaux et Cage (1932, 81x65cm; 900x1184pix, 98kb) _ This picture is half-way between a faithful representation and a frank abstraction, so the pseudonymous Frank Ander-Taine took it all the way, and then some, to the symmetrical abstraction
      _ N'as-tu Remorque Avec Oisifs et Gages? aka Bird Rib (2006; screen filling, 194kb _ ZOOM to 1864x2636pix, 1186kb)
–- Assiette et Compotier (1940; 900x1096pix, 80kb)
–- La Cueillette del Pommes (892x1099pix, 60kb)
–- Jardin à Villerville (892x1081pix, 59kb)
–- Le Poisson (679x900pix, 47kb) —(070505)

^ 1896 Zygmunt (or Sigmund) Joseph Menkes, Jewish Polish US painter who died in 1986. Born in 1896 in Lvov, Poland, he studied at the Lvov Higher Institute of Art and the Krakow Academy of Fine Art. After the First World War he lived and worked in Berlin and Paris, to where he moved in 1923. He became a leading member of the Montparnasse colony of Jewish émigré artists, along with Eugene Zak, Raymond Kanelba, Leopold Gottlieb, Leon Weissberg and many others. Menkes was one of the most lyrical colorists of the School of Paris group and continued to paint his soulful, dark-hued portraits, nudes, still-lives and paintings of Jewish religious life until well into his eighties. In 1935 he left for New York, and eventually settled in Riverdale, New York where he died.
–- Woman in a Room (798x659pix, 61kb) very sloppily drawn; dark dull colors.
–- Landscape in Woodstock (641x794pix, 70kb)
–- Girl With Red Jacket (799x625pix, 68kb)
Vase of Flowers (800x574pix, 161kb)
–- different Still Life of Flowers in a Vase (795x586pix, 56kb)
–- Boy Playing a Harmonica (800x632pix, 86kb)
Femme et Fleurs (1950, 56x46cm; 500x410pix, 67kb)
Still Life in Dark and Light Rythms oil on canvas (61x76cm; 361x450pix, 230kb) —(070506)

^ 1893 Wilhelm Kohlhoff, German painter who died on 09 July 1971.
Selbstbildnis (1964; 350x250pix, 27kb)
A Mother With Her Two Young Children (400x311pix, 50kb)
41 small images at his site (9 per page) —(060505)

1880 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, German painter who died (full coverage) on 15 June 1938.

1857 Frank Bramley, English painter who died (full coverage) on 09 August 1915.

1849 John Melhuish Strudwick, British painter who died (full coverage) on 16 July 1937.

>1821 Benito Mercadé y Fábregas [–10 Dec 1897], Spanish painter.
Christopher Columbus at the Gates of the Monastery of Santa Maria De La Rabida with His Son Diego (628x450pix, 28kb) —(090505)

^ 1801 René-Auguste Flandrin, Lyon French painter and printmaker, who died on 30 August 1842. He was the son of Jean-Baptiste-Jacques Flandrin [1773–1838], an amateur painter who specialized in portraits, and the brother and lithography teacher of Hippolyte Flandrin [23 Mar 1809 – 21 Mar 1864] and Paul Flandrin [28 May 1811 – 08 March 1902]. Auguste Flandrin attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Lyon from 1817 to 1823, studying drawing and painting under Fleury Richard and Alexis Grognard [1752–1840]. He produced engraved title-pages for musical romances and lithographic scenes of Lyon, such as the Ruins of the Roman Aqueduct at Lyon (1824). In 1833 he moved to Paris, where he worked in the studio of Ingres for a year. He then moved back to Lyon and in 1838 spent a few weeks in Rome. On his return, he set up a studio in Lyon where such artists as Louis Lamothe [1822–1869] and Joseph Pognon studied. As well as landscape lithographs (e.g. View of the Bridge at Beauregard on the Sâone, 1834), he also painted historical scenes, such as Savonarola Preaching at San Miniato (1836), and portraits, such as Dr. S. des Guidi (1841), which shows the influence of Ingres.
Cascade (600x384pix, 60kb)
A Man (1834; 400x318pix, 48kb) — (060505)

^ 1688 Charles Parrocel, French painter and engraver who died on 24 (25?) May 1752. — First cousin of the brothers Pierre Parrocel [16 Mar 1670 – 26 Aug 1739] and Ignace-Jacques Parrocel [1667-1722]. — Charles Parrocel studied at first under his father Joseph Parrocel [03 October 1646 – 01 Mar 1704] and, after the latter’s death, under his godfather Charles de La Fosse, under Bon Boullogne [bap. 22 Feb 1649 – 17 May 1717], and under Pierre-Jacques Cazes [1676 – 25 Jun 1754]. Charles Parrocel apparently enlisted in the cavalry in 1706, but by 1709 he was competing, without success, for the Prix de Rome. In 1712 he moved to Rome where he was a pensionnaire at the Académie de France from 1713 to 1716. He traveled in Italy, visited Malta and settled in Venice for four years.
     Parrocel returned to Paris in 1721 and at once executed two paintings for Louis XV depicting the visit to France of the Turkish ambassador Mehemet Effendi; these were later reproduced in the form of tapestries at the Gobelins manufactory. In the same year he was received (reçu) as a member of the Académie Royale, Paris. He executed a number of equestrian portraits, including that of Louis XV (1724), but with the faces of the sitters painted by other artists (Jean-Baptiste van Loo in the case of Louis XV).
     Like his father, however, he was principally a painter of battles and hunts. In 1736–1738 he painted for the Petits Appartements at the château of Versailles an Elephant Hunt and a Wild Bull Hunt. One of Parrocels most remarkable drawings, 3900 cm long (!), represents the procession celebrating the proclamation in 1739 of the second Peace of Vienna, which marked the end of the War of the Polish Succession.
     Parrocel took part in the 1737, 1738, 1745 and 1746 Salons, and he rose through the academic hierarchy to become a professor in 1745. During the War of the Austrian Succession he was present at several battles, including Fontenoy (11 May 1745) and Lawfeld (02 Jul 1747). Of his sketches for a series of ten battle pictures intended for the gallery in the château of Choisy, he was prevented by ill-health from painting more than two; the second was completed by Pierre L’Enfant. Among Charles Parrocel's engravings are 18 plates for François de La Guérinière’s Ecole de cavalerie (1733) (such as this one), as well as some of various other military subjects.
—    Philibert-Benoît de La Rue was a student of Charles Parrocel.
Halte de grenadiers à cheval de la maison du roi. (1737, 219x249cm) _ Outre la remarquable nature morte du premier plan, et le détail des uniformes et de l'équipement, cette peinture témoigne de l'organisation d'un régiment en marche.
Study Sheet of Seven Soldiers (16x26cm)
Cavaliers —(070506)

^ 1823 Johann Bertholomäus Duntze, German painter who died in 1895. — {That's Duntze NOT Dunce}
–- A Village on the Rhine in Winter (978x1400pix, 95kb) skaters are on the frozen river.
Norwegian landscape with a waterfall, foreground with two anglers (325x500pix, 20kb). —(070506)

^ 1807 Karl Friedrich Moritz Müller “Feuermüller”, German painter who died on 08 November 1865. — Not to be confused with Moritz Müller “Kindermüller” [1825-1894] nor with Fritz Müller [1814-1861]. — Father of Moritz Gustav Müller “Moritz Müller der Ältere” [08 Apr 1841 – 31 Mar 1899] who was the father of Moritz Müller der Jüngere [28 Oct 1868 – 17 Dec 1934].
Kniende Frau mit Kindern, vom Brand beleuchtet (1835, 62x50cm; 488x380pix, 37kb) —(060505)

Happened on a 06 May:
1959 Pablo Picasso [25 Oct 188108 Apr 1973] se convierte en el artista que más dinero cobra en vida por una obra, al venderse un cuadro en Londres por $154'000. — LINKS

^ 1432: The Adoration of the Lamb
      Flemish artist Jan van Eyck [1370 – buried 09 Jul 1441] finishes his greatest masterpiece: the Adoration of the Lamb altarpiece (350x461rm) for Saint John's Church in Ghent, Belgium. Van Eyck's work is noted for its descriptive realism and intensive color.
— The most famous work of Jan van Eyck is a huge altarpiece with many scenes in the city of Ghent. It is said to have been begun by Jan's elder brother Hubert, of whom little is known, and was completed by Jan in 1432. In the past, art historians, for various reasons, have sometimes cast doubt on the existence of Hubert Van Eyck. Today, however, no one still seriously claims that the elder brother of Jan, Lambert and Margareta Van Eyck never existed. He was born at Maeseyck, near Mons, though the date of his birth is unknown. The name Hubert itself, which was not common in Ghent, may well indicate his foreign origin. A few facts can be gleaned from his tombstone, which is now in the Lapidary Museum in Saint Bavo's Abbey. An inscription engraved on a copper plate which has since disappeared but which was once affixed to the stone, recorded 18 September 1426 as the date of his death. However, the most crucial piece of information to have come down to us is the quatrain inscribed on the frame of the Adoration of the Lamb, the Van Eyck brothers' most celebrated work. The verse was placed there when the altarpiece was installed on 06 May 1432. It states that the polyptych was begun by Pictor Hubertus Eyck, and finished by his brother Jan, at the request of Jodocus Vijd, deputy burgomaster of Ghent, warden of the church of St John, and of his wife, Elisabeth Borluut, who commissioned it.
      An additional argument for the existence of Hubert is provided by a stylistic analysis of the painting, in which the work of two different hands can be clearly discerned. The overall conception of the altarpiece is certainly the work of Hubert, along with the execution of certain parts, such as the panels in the lower tier. Here, the manner is archaic, and reflects the continuing dominance of the international style that was practised by Broederlam. The composition is typically unoriginal: the landscape is still conceived as a distant background, with which the figures at the front have no organic relation, an effect that is reinforced by the bird's eye point of view.
      This polyptych is mystical, not to say esoteric, in intention, and is imbued throughout with both spiritual and intellectual signification. When opened, it represents the communion of saints, which is "the new heaven and the new earth", in the words of the Revelation of St John. Thus the central panel of the lower tier portrays the saints symbolizing the eight Beatitudes gathered round the altar where the sacrifice of the Lamb is taking place, at the centre of the heavenly garden which has sprung from His blood.
      To left and right, in the foreground, are two processions facing one another. One of these is made up of the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets, and the other of figures from the New Testament. Some of them are kneeling, barefoot. Behind them is assembled the hierarchy of the Church — popes, deacons and bishops, wearing sumptuous jewelry and clothes in the bright red of martyrdom. In the background are two further groups, facing each other as if they had just emerged from the surrounding shrubbery. These are, on one side, the Confessors of the Faith, tightly packed together and almost all dressed in blue; and on the other side, the Virgin Martyrs, holding out palm fronds and wearing in their hair crowns of flowers of a kind traditionally worn by young girls at certain holy ceremonies. In the middle of the panel, around the altar where the Lamb spills forth his blood, angels kneel, holding the emblems of His Passion. Grace is symbolized by a radiant dove hovering in the sky, and eternal life is represented by a fountain in the foreground. A paradisiacal landscape runs across all five lower panels, uniting them in a single composition. It is strewn with plants from different countries and flowers of different seasons. The central panel is vibrant with green, while those to the sides are more arid and rocky. The horizon sits high in the frame and is closed off by groves of trees, behind which clusters of fairy-tale buildings can be made out, representing the heavenly Jerusalem.
     The community of saints also extends onto the side panels. Magnificently arrayed horsemen, representing the Soldiers of Christ, are followed by the Just Judges. Opposite them are the Holy Hermits who have renounced the world, and the Pilgrim Saints, who were favourite figures of identification throughout the Middle Ages. They are led by a giant of a man, St Christopher. Many later commentators have suggested that his great height would have reminded the contemporary viewer of Jodocus Vijd's brother, also called Christopher. In the middle of the upper tier is God Almighty, the Word, essence and origin of the universe. He is dressed in red and is crowned with a magnificent tiara. On his left is Mary and on his right, St John the Baptist. These central figures are surrounded by angels who are singing or playing instruments. At the far right and left of the composition respectively are the figures of Adam and Eve. They were painted by Jan Van Eyck, and are set into trompe-l'oeil niches. Light and shadow play delicately over their forms which stand out as though they had been sculpted in the round.
The Ghent Altarpiece — wings closed (350x223cm) _ The realism of the figures of Adam and Eve at the far right and left on the open altarpiece struck contemporary viewers forcefully, and this style continues on the outside of the panels when the altarpiece is closed. The external decoration shows the Erithraean and Cumaean Sibyls, Prophets Zacharias and Micheas, the figures of Jodocus Vyd, the donor, and his wife Isabelle Borluut kneeling on either side of two grisaille (painted in gray to resemble statuary) representations of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, and the Annunciation with the angel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary. The angel and the Virgin of the Annunciation are separated by two small panels, one with the representation of an arched window looking out upon a city square, and the other with a wash basin and ewer set into a niche and a white towel hanging from a rail beside it. A striking feature is the disparity in the scale of the various figures: no less than four changes of scale exist of the outside of the wings. There are also disparities in approach; some parts are almost prosaically factual, others almost visionary in approach. Three orders of reality are present: a narrative representation of a sacred subject (the Annunciation), two highly factual donor portraits and two simulated sculptures. Yet there is a strong attempt to impose a uniform framework on these disparate elements through the governing factor of the light, which falls uniformly in all the panels from the right, and also through the use in the upper panels of a beamed ceiling running through the whole scene, and, in the lower panels, of the same cusped trefoil arches to frame the figures.

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