The Crucifixion of Saint Peter with a Donor; The Legend of Saint Anthony Abbot with a Donor; The Annunciation
Northern French Painter (ca. 1450)
Oil on wood
Each 45 x 31 in. (114.3 x 78.7 cm)
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Not on view
These two imposing panels would have flanked a central painting or sculptural shrine. This northern French painter derives his style and certain figural quotations from Rogier van der Weyden, whose works were widely known and appreciated at the time.
Inscription: Exterior wings dated and inscribed: (left wing, on scroll) Ave·gracia·plena·; (left wing, on sill, probably in a later hand) 1451; right wing, on scroll) dominus·tecum·.; (right wing, on ewer) AD[M?] (possibly for ancilla domini [the handmaid of the Lord] [Luke 1:38])
possibly Monasterio de Santa María La Real de Las Huelgas, Burgos; Sicilia family, Spain (until 1905; sold to Lionel Harris of Spanish Gallery); [Spanish Gallery, London, 1905–12; sold to Barbazanges]; [Galerie Barbazanges, Paris, 1912–?at least 1924; as by Froment]; Yves Perdoux, Paris (until 1927; as Northern French School; sold to Kleinberger); [Kleinberger, Paris and New York, 1927; sold for $25,000 to Aldred]; John E. Aldred, Lattingtown, N.Y. (1927–29; sold to Kleinberger); [Kleinberger, New York, 1929; sold for $26,500 to Friedsam]; Michael Friedsam, New York (1929–d. 1931)
New York. F. Kleinberger Galleries. "Loan Exhibition of French Primitives and Objects of Art," October 17–November 12, 1927, nos. 15–16 (lent by the F. Kleinberger Galleries).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Michael Friedsam Collection," November 15, 1932–April 9, 1933, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Saints and Their Legends," March 1–June 6, 1974, exh. brochure (only 32.100.11 was in exhibition).
W. H. J. Weale. "Les tableaux des maîtres inconnus." Revue de l'art chrétien 55 (November 1905), pp. 361–62, pls. 7–8 (32.100.110–11), attributes these panels to a Brabantine master; believes the saint shown with the donatrix, probably her patron, is Gerasimus, a hermit who founded a monastic house on the River Jordan; states that the panels came from a chapel in the abbey church of Las Huelgas, near Burgos, suppressed in the early 19th century, after which they went to the Cecilla [sic for Sicilia] family in Spain.
Jean Guiffrey, Pierre Marcel, and Charles Terrasse. La peinture française: Les primitifs. Paris, n.d. [1910–13], vol. 2, pp. 10–11, pls. 32–38 (all panels except 32.100.108; overall and details), identifies them as works of the Northern French school; notes that certain details of the figures and the architectural setting are reminiscent of tapestries from Arras, particularly one from 1454 depicting the Deliverance of Saint Peter (Musée Cluny, Paris); identifies the patron saint with the donatrix as Saint Anthony.
Martin Conway. The Van Eycks and Their Followers. London, 1921, pp. 155–56, ascribes them provisionally to a Dutch pupil of Rogier van der Weyden.
Henri Clouzot. "Trotti et Cie." La Renaissance de l'art français et des industries de luxe 6 (June 1923), p. 360, ill., lists them as from the workshop of Rogier van der Weyden.
Max J. Friedländer. Die altniederländische Malerei. Vol. 2, Rogier van der Weyden und der Meister von Flémalle. Berlin, 1924, p. 126, no. 103, pl. 72 (32.100.110), as by a competent and solid follower of Rogier.
A. Van de Put. Letter to E. M. Sperling. September 7, 1926, describes the arms as peculiar and apparently unrecorded; notes that the donor bears a certain likeness to Philip the Good, but considers this only a general resemblance, heightened by the similarity of the haircut (or tondu à la bourguignonne); suggests the subject might be Philip's nephew, John I, Duke of Cleves, who founded the order of Chevalier au Cygne, as the crest takes the form of a swan.
Louis Réau. "Une exposition de primitifs français à New-York." La Renaissance 10 (October 1927), pp. 441, 446, ill. (32.100. 110), acribes them to a northern French artist.
Louis Réau inCatalogue of a Loan Exhibition of French Primitives. Exh. cat., New York. New York, 1927, pp. 14, 46–49, nos. 15–17, ill., as Northern French School, 1451.
? F[riedländer]. M[ax]. "Illustrierte Berichte." Pantheon 1 (January 1928), p. 52, questions the attribution to the Northern French School [see Ref. Sperling 1927], noting that [M. J.] Friedländer has observed that French patrons of this period sometimes commissioned altarpieces in Brussels.
Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), pp. 18, 20, nos. 18–21, ill. (32.100.110), call the composite "an excellent work in the style of Rogier van der Weyden's following," and suggest the artist was northern French in origin; states that the shields on the interior panels do not refer to the donors but to the Cluniac monastery of Souvigny near Moulins in the duchy of Bourbon; based on the traditional association of the key and sword with Saints Peter and Paul, suggest that the figure on the panel with the donatrix is Saint Paul.
"Some Friedsam Pictures Bear no Names." Art Digest 7 (November 15, 1932), p. 9, ill. (32.100.110).
Tomás Harris. Letter to Margaretta Salinger. December 1, 1932, discusses the provenance of these panels, stating that they were purchased in Spain by his father Lionel Harris in 1905 and sold in 1912 to P. W. Turner of the Barbazanges Galleries, Paris; further states that the panels must have been in the Convent of Huelgas since the early 16th century, but does not know how long they were owned by the Cecilla [Sicilia] family.
Katharine Grant Sterne. "The French Primitives in the Friedsam Collection." Parnassus 4 (January 1932), p. 9, considers these panels more likely to by a Flemish than a French painter.
August L. Mayer. "Panneaux français inconnus." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 15 or 16 (1936), pp. 278–79, 283, ill. (32.100.109), attributes them to a northern French artist whom he calls the Master of 1451; sees a relationship with panels by a Franco-Flemish master of about 1465–70 (Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels) and with a silverpoint drawing in the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett representing the Annunciation, which he finds closely related but later; believes they are from the same workshop as another group of shutter panels (MMA 32.100.106–7).
Ch[arles]. S[terling]. "Notes inside front cover." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 4 (November 1945), text inside front cover, ill. (32.100.108–9, and detail of the archangel on front cover, in color), considers it a northern French work of the 15th century; suggests the artist was a pupil of Rogier's, although "his technique is far less refined, his style is graphic and flat—characteristics that relate him to the school of Amiens".
Julius S. Held. "Book Reviews: Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta M. Salinger . . ., 1947." Art Bulletin 31 (June 1949), p. 143, remarks on the significance of these dated panels for our understanding of Rogier's chronology.
Grete Ring. A Century of French Painting 1400–1500. London, 1949, p. 218, no. 155, as works of a northern French master of 1451; does not consider them typically French, noting that while the color scheme, landscape, and gestures suggest a French origin, the composition and certain figure types relate to works of such south German followers of Rogier as Schüchlin and Pleydenwurff.
Charles Sterling. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of French Paintings. Vol. 1, XV–XVIII Centuries. Cambridge, Mass., 1955, pp. 1–7, ill., as probably by a pupil of Rogier active about 1450 in Northern France; notes that the date seems to have been added later to the picture, perhaps recording the time of its donation, but maintains that the panels were painted about that time as the dress of the donors accords with Burgundian fashion of about 1450; identifies the saint in the donatnrix panel as Anthony, based on the tau cross on the right shoulder of his cloak and interprets the narrative scenes in the background as a rarely depicted miracle story; suggests that the coat of arms may be a combination of the ancient arms of Cassel, a city in French Flanders, and those of its "vicomte et seigneur"; remarks that the Crucifixion of Saint Peter is a distinctive subject for northern French paintings of the 15th century and mentions a tapestry (Beauvais cathedral), commissioned in 1460, probably from a Tournai workshop, in which the saint is depicted with a similar physiognomy and a robe tied in the same way about his ankles; remarks that the deeply cut and stiff parallel folds of the drapery, the barren and stylized architecture, as well as the calligraphic indication of form are characteristic of pictures produced in Picardy.
Michel Laclotte. Primitifs français. Paris, , p. 38.
Max J. Friedländer et al. Early Netherlandish Painting. Vol. 2, Rogier van der Weyden and the Master of Flémalle. New York, 1967, p. 81, no. 103, pl. 115.
Elisabeth Heller. Das altniederländische Stifterbild. PhD diss., Universität München. Munich, 1976, p. 228, no. 320.
Katharine Baetjer. "Pleasures and Problems of Early French Painting." Apollo 106 (November 1977), p. 340, ill. (32.100.110 and 32.100.108), notes that similar wiry, angular forms and tubular drapery folds can be seen in an altarpiece from Abbeville in Picardy (Art Institute of Chicago) and remarks that the donor in Rogier's Bladelin Triptych (Staatliche Museen, Berlin) of about the same date wears the same type of costume as the donor here.
Lorne Campbell. Unpublished text for MMA Bulletin. 1981, maintains that the coats of arms refer not to the donors but to Saints Peter and Paul, whose emblems are a key and a sword.
Charles Sterling. "La peintuire sur panneau picarde et son rayonnement dans le nord de la France au XVe siècle." Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de l'Art Français, année 1979, (1981), pp. 31–33, 40–41, 48 nn. 76–79, ill. (overall and details), as by a follower of Rogier from the Picardy region; comments on the similarity of the profile view and theatrical dance pose of the figure facing the donor in our panel and that of the soldier in the Crucifixion by Simon Marmion in the Johnson Collection, Philadelphia; compares the donor with the portrait of Nicolais Rolin in Rogier's Last Judgment triptych in Beaune (Hôtel-Dieu), painted between 1446 and 1450.
Claudine Lemaire and Michèle Henry. Isabelle de Portugal, duchesse de Bourgogne, 1397–1471. Exh. cat., Bibliothèque Royale Albert Ier. Brussels, 1991, pp. 143, 157–58, no. 49, ill. (32.100.109), tentatively identify the donor portraits as Isabelle of Portugal and Philip the Good, noting that the arms "evoke" those of the city of Cassel, of its collegial church of Saint Peter and of its chapel of Saint John the Evangelist; note that Isabelle paid the income of the chapter of Saint Peter and of the chapel of Saint John.
Stephanie Buck inDirk Bouts (ca. 1410–1475): Een Vlaams primitief te Leuven. Ed. Maurits Smeyers. Exh. cat., Sint-Pieterskerk en Predikherenkerk, Louvain. Louvain, 1998, pp. 423–24, fig. 1, finds a drawing of Gabriel and the Virgin Annunciate (workshop of Dirk Bouts, about 1470–90, Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin) unusually close to the drawing of the figures in our Annunciation wings.
Stephanie Buck. Die niederländischen Zeichnungen des 15. Jahrhunderts im Berliner Kupferstichkabinett: Kritischer Katalog. Turnhout, Belgium, 2001, p. 117.
Juan Carlos de la Mata González. Letter to Josephine Dobkin. August 8, 2003, states that he has shown transparencies of these panels to the curatorial department and that they find no evidence of their presence at Las Huelgas; in their opinion, they never belonged to the monastery.
Dóra Sallay. "Early Sienese Paintings in Hungarian Collections, 1420–1520." PhD diss., Central European University, Budapest, 2008, p. 200 n. 460.
Lisa Monnas. Merchants, Princes and Painters: Silk Fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings, 1300–1550. New Haven, 2008, pp. 139, 355 n. 72, figs. 151–54 (.110 and .111, color, overall and details).
Jochen Sander inThe Master of Flémalle and Rogier van der Weyden. Ed. Stephan Kemperdick and Jochen Sander. Exh. cat., Städel Museum, Frankfurt. Ostfildern, 2009, p. 366 [German ed., "Der Meister von Flémalle und Rogier van der Weyden," Ostfildern, 2008], notes that the female donor in our altarpiece has "had herself portrayed" in the manner of Isabella of Portugal as she is shown in the portrait he attributes to the workshop of Rogier van der Weyden (J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles).
Stephanie Buck inThe Young Dürer: Drawing the Figure. Ed. Stephanie Buck and Stephanie Porras. Exh. cat., Courtauld Gallery. London, 2013, p. 182, fig. 95 (Annunciation), under nos. 17, 17V, as by a follower of Rogier.