Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Follower of Quentin Metsys (Netherlandish, mid-16th century)
and Master of the Liège Disciples at Emmaus (Netherlandish, active mid-16th century)
ca. 1540
Oil on wood
37 1/2 x 30 1/4 in. (95.3 x 76.8 cm)
Credit Line:
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Accession Number:
Not on view
The Virgin and Child, painted by a follower of Massys, reflect the influence of Italian painting, particularly the classical figure types favored by Leonardo da Vinci. The landscape, however, ascribed to the Master of the Liège Disciples at Emmaus, sets the stage for the expansive views in Netherlandish paintings of the later sixteenth century.
?private collection, Spain; Baron Albert Oppenheim, Cologne (by 1902–d. 1912; cat., 1904, no. 26; his estate, 1912–18; his estate sale, Lepke's, Berlin, March 19, 1918, no. 24, as by Quentin Massys); [Kleinberger, New York, until 1921]; Michael Friedsam, New York (1921–d. 1931)
Bruges. Palais du Gouvernement. "Exposition des primitifs flamands et d'art ancien," June 15–September 15, 1902, no. 278 (as by Quentin Metsys, lent by Baron A. Oppenheim, Cologne).

New York. F. Kleinberger Galleries. "Flemish Primitives," 1929, no. 49 (lent by Col. Michael Friedsam).

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. "Landscape Paintings," May 14–September 30, 1934, no. 16.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Gerard David: Flanders's Last Medieval Master," April 1–May 9, 1972, no catalogue?

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 22, 1998–February 21, 1999, no. 70.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Relative Values : The Cost of Art in the Northern Renaissance," August 7, 2017–June 23, 2019, no catalogue.

Georges H. de Loo Palais du Gouvernement, Bruges. Exposition de tableaux flamands des XIVe, XVe et XVIe siècles: catalogue critique précédé d'une introduction sur l'identité de certains maîtres anonymes. Ghent, 1902, pp. 74–75, no. 278, as an Italianizing work by a direct pupil of Massys, perhaps an early effort of one of his sons, Jan for example.

W. H. James Weale. Exposition des primitifs flamands et d'art ancien, Bruges. Première section: tableaux. Catalogue. Exh. cat., Palais du Gouvernement. Bruges, 1902, p. 106, no. 278, lists the picture to Quentin Massys but notes (p. XXX) that all attributions given in the catalogue are those provided by owners.

Max J. Friedländer. "Die Brügger Leihausstellung von 1902." Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft 26 (1903), p. 156, calls it the work of an important follower of Massys, and notes that it came from Spain; compares it stylistically with a Virgin and Child in a private collection, Paris, which also came from Spain.

Émile Molinier. Collection du Baron Albert Oppenheim: Tableaux et objets d'art. Paris, 1904, pp. 10–11, no. 26, pl. 23, as by Quentin Massys.

Jean de Bosschère. Quinten Metsys. Brussels, 1907, p. 125.

Max J. Friedländer. Letter to F. Kleinberger. July 23, 1923, observes that although this picture is at the high level of Quentin Massys, whose mature style it shows in many respects, he finds it difficult to place among his works, "even after renewed examination".

Max J. Friedländer in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], p. 124, ascribes it to Massys, but in the text observes that "in some details the interpretation seems to be of a slightly later style than Matsys, for instance in the landscape, but also in the full and rounded forms of the bodies of the children [sic]"; believes that if it is by him, it must be a particularly late work.

E. M. Sperling. Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of Flemish Primitives. Exh. cat., F. Kleinberger Galleries, Inc., New York. New York, 1929, p. 150, no. 49, ill., as by Quentin Massys.

Max J. Friedländer. Die altniederländische Malerei. Vol. 7, Quentin Massys. Berlin, 1929, p. 125, no. 66, pl. 53, calls it an excellent picture, close to Massys, but by a younger artist.

Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), pp. 27–28, no. 41, ill., as School of Quentin Massys; date it about 1540–50 and note that it is not unreasonable for Hulin de Loo [Ref. 1902] to conjecture that this is an early work of Jan Massys, suggesting that Quentin's other son, Cornelis, may have painted the landscape; further comments that the landscape resembles the work of Cornelis less than it does that of Lucas Gassel.

Ludwig Baldass. "Gotik und Renaissance im Werke des Quinten Metsys." Jahrbuch der kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien, n.s., 7 (1933), p. 170, groups it among several repetitions of lost works by Massys.

Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta Salinger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Early Flemish, Dutch and German Paintings. New York, 1947, pp. 111–12, ill., observe that the figures and landscape are so different in handling that it is obvious the painting is the work of two separate artists; observe that flesh was rendered "with such bland pink tones and enamel-like textures" only one or two decades after Quentin's death; suggest the figures may be the early work of Jan Massys and notes that the landscape strongly resembles the background of a Virgin and Child by Quentin in the Museum at Posen [Muzeum Narodowe, Poznan], but also recalls the work of Cornelis Massys and Lucas Gassel.

Maurice W. Brockwell. "A Little Known Landscape Painter: Lucas Gassel's 'Baptism of Christ'." Connoisseur 138 (September 1956), p. 18, obsserves taht his apinting, once ascribed to Joachim Patinir and now to Cornelis Massys is distantly related in style to the works of Lucas Gassel.

Erik Larsen. Les primitifs flamands au Musée Metropolitain de New York. Utrecht, 1960, pp. 86–87.

Max J. Friedländer et al. Early Netherlandish Painting. Vol. 7, Quentin Massys. New York, 1971, p. 67, pl. 62.

A. de Bosque. Quentin Metsys. Brussels, 1975, p. 225, fig. 277, has not seen the painting, but attributes it to the workshop of Quentin Massys.

Walter S. Gibson. "Mirror of the Earth": The World Landscape in Sixteenth-century Flemish Painting. Princeton, 1989, p. 33, as perhaps an early work by a landscape specialist recently christened the Master of the Lille Sermon [see Notes].

Luc Serck. "Henri Bles & la peinture de paysage dans les pays-bas méridionaux avant Bruegel." PhD diss., Université Catholique de Louvain, 1990, vol. 5, p. 1234, no. A.10; vol. 6, p. 1475, lists it with works of the Master of the Liège Disciples at Emmaus [current name for Master of the Lille Sermon, see Notes]; suggests the figures may be by an anonymous master close to Hemessen, who, he believes produced the figures in two other paintings of the Rest on the Flight into Egypt which he illustrates (art market, Paris, 1990, and Galerie Lingenauber, Düsseldorf).

Mary Sprinson de Jesús in From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, pp. 85, 209, 211, 268–69, no. 70, ill. (color), notes that the landscape seems to anticipate the work of such later Flemish painters as Gillis van Coninxloo and Joos de Momper the Younger.

Luc Serck in Autour de Henri Blés. Ed. Jacques Toussaint. Exh. cat., Musée des Arts Anciens du Namurois. [Namur], 2000, p. 252.

The picture is an example of the division of labor between figure and landscape painters that was practiced in the Netherlands in the first half of the sixteenth century. The Virgin and Child are the work of an anonymous follower of Quentin Massys. The landscape has been associated with a group of works whose backgrounds can be ascribed to a single artist; the figures in the foreground or middle ground of these pictures, which provide their ostensible subject, are the works of various collaborators. The landscapist was christened the Master of the Lille Sermon in 1968 by G. Faggin (Pittura ad Anversa, p. 41 n. 34), after a panel entitled Sermon of Saint John in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille. However H. G. Franz ("Landschaftsbilder als kollektive Werkstattschöpfungen in der flämischen Malerei des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts," Jahrbuch Graz 18 [1982], pp. 167–77) pointed out that the work of the figure painter is predominant in the Lille Sermon and proposed a new name for the same landscape specialist: Master of the Liège Disciples at Emmaus, after the Journey to Emmaus in the Musée d'Art Religieux et d'Art Mosan, Liège. Gibson (1989) first ascribes our panel to this master.
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