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6.2 Flemish Primitives and 16th-Century Netherlandish Paintings

 In 1956, Poland’s most precious work of art, which had been housed in Gdańsk for almost 500 years, returned from the Soviet Union: the Triptych of the Last Judgement by Hans Memling1 – one of two monumental works by the master painter from Bruges [i]. The history of its acquisition is quite unusual. Originally commissioned by Angelo Tani, the representative of the Medici bank in Bruges and destined for his family chapel in the church of Badia Fiesolana near Florence, the triptych was en route from the Netherlands to Italy on the galleon ‘San Matteo’ in 1473. The ship was captured by a Gdańsk pirate, Paul Benecke, and the altarpiece unexpectedly found its way to his home town, where it was placed in the church of Our Lady [i]. Despite the protests and complaints of the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold and Pope Sixtus IV, the triptych remained in Gdańsk. It was removed twice: by Napoleon in 1807 (to be returned in 1816), and during the Second World War, when the Germans took it to Thuringia for safety. Found there by the Red Army, it was taken to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad).

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Hans Memling   , Last Judgement, c. 1467-1471

Hans Memling  
Last Judgement c. 1467-1471
oil paint / panel, 221 x 160 cm
18.64637 Muzeum Narodowe w Gdańsku54.35205, Gdańsk, no. SD/413/M - M/568/MPG



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attributed to Bartholomäus Miltwitz   , Interior of the St. Mary's Church in Danzig with the tryptich of Hans Memling, c. 1635

attributed to Bartholomäus Miltwitz  
Interior of the St. Mary's Church in Danzig with the tryptich of Hans Memling c. 1635
oil paint / canvas on panel, 66 x 76 cm
18.64637 Bazylika Mariacka54.35205, Gdańsk



Apart from this breathtaking work there are not many Flemish Primitives in Poland: a group of small devotional pictures from the workshops of Dieric and Aelbert Bouts in Kraków and Warsaw [i] [i] [i]; a Passion altarpiece with wings painted in the workshop of Colijn de Coter, also in Warsaw [i] [i]; and a splendid composition showing the Martyrdom of Saint Crispin and Crispinian from the Wilanów collection [i], rendered with a rare epic power of narration. This work, by Aert van den Bossche, is the central panel of a triptych, the right wing of which – separated and transferred to canvas – is preserved in the Museum van de Stad in Brussels (averses) and in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow (reverses).2

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follower of Dieric Bouts   , The Annunciation, c. 1480

follower of Dieric Bouts  
The Annunciation c. 1480
oil paint / panel, 47,8 x 33 cm
19.93658 Muzeum Ksiazat Czartoryskich50.06143, Cracow, no. MNK XII-256



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Albrecht Bouts   and studio of Albrecht Bouts   , Mater Dolorosa, c. 1500

Albrecht Bouts   and studio of Albrecht Bouts  
Mater Dolorosa c. 1500
oil paint / panel, 40,7 x 26,6 cm
19.93658 Muzeum Ksiazat Czartoryskich50.06143, Cracow, no. MNK XII-258



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Albrecht Bouts   and studio of Albrecht Bouts   , The Head of Saint John the Baptist (Mt 14, 6–12; Mk 6, 21–29), after 1500

Albrecht Bouts   and studio of Albrecht Bouts  
The Head of Saint John the Baptist (Mt 14, 6–12; Mk 6, 21–29) after 1500
tempera / panel (oak), 30,8 x 30,8 cm
21.01178 Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie52.22977, Warsaw, no. M.Ob.845 MNW



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studio of Colijn de Coter   , Passion altarpiece of Pruszcz Gdański (Praust): The last supper, c. 1500

studio of Colijn de Coter  
Passion altarpiece of Pruszcz Gdański (Praust): The last supper c. 1500
tempera / panel, 135 x 60 cm
21.01178 Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie52.22977, Warsaw, no. Śr.13/1–7 (187369) MNW



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studio of Colijn de Coter   , Passion altarpiece of Pruszcz Gdański (Praust): The Ascension, c. 1500

studio of Colijn de Coter  
Passion altarpiece of Pruszcz Gdański (Praust): The Ascension c. 1500
tempera / panel, 135 x 60 cm
21.01178 Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie52.22977, Warsaw, no. Śr.13/1–7 (187369) MNW



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Aert van den Bossche   , Martyrdom of SS Crispin and Crispinian, c. 1490-1500

Aert van den Bossche  
Martyrdom of SS Crispin and Crispinian c. 1490-1500
oil paint / panel, 96 x 188 cm
21.01178 Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie52.22977, Warsaw



Poznań Museum owns an extremely interesting big panel of the Crucifixion dated to the 2nd half of 15th century with motives bearing evident influence of both Jan van Eyck and Robert Campin [i].3 The Lamentation Triptych by Jean Bellegambe from ca 1515–1520 [i] (considered by Robert Genaille in 1963 the earliest work by this Douai painter from c. 1495) and a Triptych of the Immaculate Conception by a painter from the circle of Adriaen Isenbrant [i], in spite of their late dating, still belong to the epoch of early Netherlandish painting.4

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Anonymous   , The Crucifixion, second half 15th century

Anonymous  
The Crucifixion second half 15th century
oil paint / panel, 121,5 x 95,5 cm
16.92993 Muzeum Narodowe w Poznaniu52.40692, Poznań, no. MNP FR 443 (oud MNP Mo 126)



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Jean  Bellegambe (I)   , The Lamentation tryptich

Jean  Bellegambe (I)  
The Lamentation tryptich (1495 - 1520)
oil paint / panel, 130 x 80 cm
21.01178 Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie52.22977, Warsaw, no. M.Ob.15 MNW



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circle of Adriaen Isenbrant   , Portrait of the donor Mathias Laurin (Lauwerin) (left wing), The immaculate conception (centre panel) and portrait of the donor's wife Françoise Ruffault (right wing), first half 16th century

circle of Adriaen Isenbrant  
Portrait of the donor Mathias Laurin (Lauwerin) (left wing), The immaculate conception (centre panel) and portrait of the donor's wife Françoise Ruffault (right wing) first half 16th century
tempera / panel (oak), 112 x 72 cm
21.01178 Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie52.22977, Warsaw, no. M.Ob.16



The Northern Renaissance, or ‘Antwerp Mannerism’, is represented by objects such as the painted panels of the St. Reinhold Altarpiece, an early masterpiece by Joos van Cleve, which is in Warsaw [i]. This work features a self-portrait of the young artist as St. Reinhold in the reverse of the wings [i].5 The Virgin with Child and a Lamb by Quinten Massijs in Poznań6 [i] illustrates the artist’s effort to combine the local Netherlandish tradition with the Italian inspirations of Leonardo da Vinci. A similar tendency can be found in Venus and Cupid  [i], a war loss recovered for the Jagiellonian University Museum in Kraków in 1984, painted by the former’s son, Jan Massijs, who seeks to unite the influence of Titian and the School of Fontainebleau.7 Italianate Mannerism in its most dramatic form is present in the Ecce Homo Triptych, now in Warsaw, one of the finest works by Maarten van Heemskerck [i],8 and Jan Sanders van Hemessen’s Holy Family in Wawel Royal Castle, Kraków [i].9  

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Joos van Cleve   and studio of Joos van Cleve   andAnonymous   , The Presentation in the Temple, Ecce Homo (left wing); The Baptism of Christ, The Last Supper, Christ before Pilate, The carrying of the Cross (centre); The Agony in the Garden, The Crucifixion (right wing); Man of Sorrows with saints (predella), 1515-1516

Joos van Cleve   and studio of Joos van Cleve   andAnonymous  
The Presentation in the Temple, Ecce Homo (left wing); The Baptism of Christ, The Last Supper, Christ before Pilate, The carrying of the Cross (centre); The Agony in the Garden, The Crucifixion (right wing); Man of Sorrows with saints (predella) 1515-1516
tempera / panel, 194 x 158 cm
21.01178 Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie52.22977, Warsaw, no. M.Ob.2190 MNW




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Joos van Cleve   , Saint Reinhold, self-portrait of Joos van Cleve, 1515-1516

Joos van Cleve  
Saint Reinhold, self-portrait of Joos van Cleve 1515-1516
tempera / panel (oak), 194 x 75 cm
21.01178 Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie52.22977, Warsaw, no. M.Ob.2190 MNW




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Quinten  Massijs (I)   , Madonna and Child with a lamb against a landscape, c. 1520

Quinten  Massijs (I)  
Madonna and Child with a lamb against a landscape c. 1520
oil paint / panel, 112 x 88 cm
16.92993 Muzeum Narodowe w Poznaniu52.40692, Poznań, no. MNP FR 441




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Jan Massijs   , Venus en Amor, c. 1560

Jan Massijs  
Venus en Amor c. 1560
tempera / panel (oak), 132 x 94 cm
19.93658 Muzeum Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego50.06143, Kraków




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Maarten van Heemskerck   , dated 1544

Maarten van Heemskerck   dated 1544
tempera / panel (oak), 162 x 89 cm
21.01178 Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie52.22977, Warsaw, no. M.Ob.595 MNW




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Jan van Hemessen   , Holy Family with John the Baptist and St. Elisabeth, c. 1552

Jan van Hemessen  
Holy Family with John the Baptist and St. Elisabeth c. 1552
oil paint / panel, 96,5 x 70 cm
19.93658 Zamek Królewski na Wawelu50.06143, Kraków, no. 117



Worth mentioning are also: one of the versions of the Ecce Homo by a follower of Juan de Flandes in the Catholic University of Lublin [i],10 an altar painting by Ambrosius Francken Christ and the Children in the parish church at Radomsko [i]11 and Bernaert de Rijckere’s Finding of Moses – Allegorical Family Portrait in Warsaw [i].12 A very fine version of the Saint John the Baptist Preaching by Pieter Brueghel the Younger is in the collection of the National Museum in Kraków [i].13

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follower ofJuan de Flandes   , Ecce Homo, second half 16th century

follower ofJuan de Flandes  
Ecce Homo second half 16th century
tempera / panel (oak), 77,3 x 57,3 cm
Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II (Instytut Historii Sztuki), Lublin, no. MU KUL I-121




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Ambrosius  Francken (I)   , Christ and the Children

Ambrosius  Francken (I)  
Christ and the Children (1559 - 1618)
oil paint / panel, 151 x 134 cm
St. Lambert Church (Radomsko), Radomsko




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Bernaert de Rijckere   , Portrait historié of the presenting of Moses to Pharaoh's daughter (Exodus 2: 1-10), c. 1562

Bernaert de Rijckere  
Portrait historié of the presenting of Moses to Pharaoh's daughter (Exodus 2: 1-10) c. 1562
tempera / panel (oak), 114,5 x 169 cm
21.01178 Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie52.22977, Warsaw, no. M.Ob. 279 MNW




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Pieter  Brueghel (II)   after Pieter  Bruegel (I)   , The Sermon of Saint John the Baptist, after 1566

Pieter  Brueghel (II)   after Pieter  Bruegel (I)  
The Sermon of Saint John the Baptist after 1566
oil paint / panel, 101 x 167,5 cm
19.93658 Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie50.06143, Kraków, no. XII-A-619



The art of portraiture in the 16th century is represented by such works as the portrait in profile of Isabel von Habsburg, the Queen of Danes attributed to the Master of the Legend of Mary Magdalen  [i], Jan Mostaert’s Portrait of a Courtier [i] in the Princes Czartoryski Museum in Kraków 14 as well as  the beautiful likeness of Isabel of Portugal by the little-known painter William (or Guillim) Scrots in Poznań [i].15

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attributed toMaster of the Magdalen Legend   , Portrait of Isabella of Habsburg (1501-1526), Queen of Denmark, c. 1515

attributed toMaster of the Magdalen Legend  
Portrait of Isabella of Habsburg (1501-1526), Queen of Denmark c. 1515
oil paint / panel, 33 x 23 cm
19.93658 Muzeum Ksiazat Czartoryskich50.06143, Cracow, no. XII-299



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Jan Mostaert   , Portrait of a man putting on a glove, c. 1520

Jan Mostaert  
Portrait of a man putting on a glove c. 1520
oil paint / panel, 40,9 x 32,3 cm
19.93658 Muzeum Ksiazat Czartoryskich50.06143, Cracow, no. XII-637



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William Scrots   , Portrait of Isabel of Portugal (1503-1539), 1530s

William Scrots  
Portrait of Isabel of Portugal (1503-1539) 1530s
oil paint / panel, 87,5 x 66,5 cm
16.92993 Muzeum Narodowe w Poznaniu52.40692, Poznań, no. MNP Mo 134



Two charming paintings by Master of the Female Half-Lengths: Lady at the Virginal in Poznań [i] and a Lady Writing a Letter in Kraków (Czartoryski Museum) [i]  make a link to the genre painting at the time of its dawn.16 The late Renaissance epoch is closed with an important painting by Pieter Aertsen in Warsaw, dating from the very last year of his life and showing, in the form of a frieze, scenes illustrating the seven works of Christian mercy [i]. Rendered as a genre piece, in the setting of a town square laid out according to the models in Sebastiano Serlio’s architectural treatise, the painting is a rarity.17

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Master of the Female Half-Lengths   , Lady at a clavichord, first half 16th century

Master of the Female Half-Lengths  
Lady at a clavichord first half 16th century
oil paint / panel, 44 x 31 cm
16.92993 Muzeum Narodowe w Poznaniu52.40692, Poznań, no. MNP FR 442 (oud MNP Mo 115)



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Master of the Female Half-Lengths   , Lady writing a letter, first half 16th century

Master of the Female Half-Lengths  
Lady writing a letter first half 16th century
oil paint / panel, 54 x 40 cm
19.93658 Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie50.06143, Kraków



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Pieter Aertsen   , The Seven Works of Christian mercy, dated 1573

Pieter Aertsen  
The Seven Works of Christian mercy dated 1573
oil paint / panel, 111,5 x 144,1 cm
21.01178 Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie52.22977, Warsaw, no. 121817



 



[1]

Walicki/Białostocki 1981; Trzeciak 1990; Purc-Stępniak 2012.

[2]

Gombert 2005, cat. no. 12; for the Flemish Primitives in Polish collections, see Białostocki 1966.

[3]

Michałowski a.o. 2005, pp. 166–168.

[4]

Genaille 1963; Jabłońska 2012; Kozak/Ziemba/Waszkiel 1999, cat. no. 10 and cat. no.105.

[5]

Hand 2004, pp. 31–35, figs. 21–25, cat. no. 8 (p. 117).

[6]

Michałowski a.o. 2005, pp. 170–173.

[7]

Winters 2002,  p. 74; Jasińska 2003, pp. 209-213.

[8]

Recently restored as part of the conservation partnership project between the National Museum in Warsaw and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, it is thoroughly treated in the monograph by Woollett/Szafran/Phenix 2012.

[9]

Białostocki 1960, cat. no. 27.

[10]

Przylicki 2010; Weniger 2011, pp. 376–370, cat. no. Juan N72.3, fig. 306, p. 269; Przylicki 2013, p. 21.

[11]

Białostocki/Walicki 1957, no. 146.

[12]

Michałkowa 1992, cat. no.61.

[13]

Dec/Wałek 2010, p. 478.

[14]

Dec/Wałek 2010 A, pp. 593–595.

[15]

Michałkowa 1992, cat. no. 53.

[16]

Gołąb/Soćko 2008, p. 104; Dec/Wałek 2010, p. 594.

[17]

Folga-Januszewska/Ziemba 2004, cat. no. 38.

Datum laatste wijziging: Aug 27, 2014 04:24 PM