Tommaso di Folco Portinari (1428–1501); Maria Portinari (Maria Maddalena Baroncelli, born 1456)
Hans Memling (Netherlandish, Seligenstadt, active by 1465–died 1494 Bruges)
Oil on wood
(.626, Tommaso) overall 17 3/8 x 13 1/4 in. (44.1 x 33.7 cm), painted surface 16 5/8 x 12 1/2 in. (42.2 x 31.8 cm); (.627, Maria) overall 17 3/8 x 13 3/8 in. (44.1 x 34 cm); painted surface 16 5/8 x 12 5/8 in. (42.2 x 32.1 cm)
The clever balance of verisimilitude and idealization in the features of this pair made Hans Memling the most sought-after portraitist of his day. The Florentine Tommaso Portinari was the branch manager of the Medici bank in Bruges, and probably commissioned these portraits from Memling upon the couple’s marriage in 1470. They originally formed a triptych with a central devotional image of the Virgin and Child. Beyond demonstrating the couple’s piety, Maria’s elaborate necklace and gown display their wealth and social status. Memling places the sitters before illusionistic frames, an innovation suggesting that the figures project into our space.
Tommaso Portinari (1428–1501), member of a prominent Florentine family, was the representative of the Medici bank in Bruges. During his tenure there, he made large and extremely risky unsecured loans to Duke Charles the Bold that were never repaid, eventually leading to the ruin of the bank. However, at the time that Hans Memling painted these portraits of Tommaso (then about thirty-eight) and his wife Maria (only fourteen), Tommaso was a favored councilor of the duke and at the peak of his reputation in Bruges. These portraits were most likely commissioned around the time of the couple’s wedding in 1470. The two portraits were certainly the wings of a devotional triptych, the center panel of which was a now-lost Virgin and Child (Waldman 2001). But these representations are not solely indicative of the couple’s piety; they also express their social status and connections at court. The plain black backgrounds of the paintings presented a type that was popularized by Rogier van der Weyden and was favored by Burgundian court circles. Memling’s innovation was to place the sitters before a trompe-l’oeil frame, boldly suggesting their relationship with the viewer’s space. Tommaso and Maria are dressed in the height of fashion. Maria in particular wears an ostentatious necklace very similar to one worn by Margaret of York at her wedding to Charles the Bold in 1468, which Tommaso and Maria attended. X-radiographs of Maria’s portrait show that her hennin was originally adorned with a V pattern and the initials T and M in pearls for Tommaso and Maria, as she wears in Hugo van der Goes’s Portinari Altarpiece (right wing; Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence). Her hennin was also positioned at a steeper, more vertical angle and overlapped the upper edge of the fictive frame. This can be seen as a pentiment, visible to the naked eye.
The two portraits are in remarkably fine condition—among Memling’s best preserved—except for the general darkening of the costumes that appear to blend into the background; the pattern on Tommaso’s purple jerkin and the details of Maria’s hennin have become obscured. Even so, the likenesses are marvels of naturalistic observation and exquisite execution. The subtly blended flesh tones describe not only the smooth sheen of the flesh, but also the sculptural form of the physiognomy. Extraordinary attention is given to such details as the scar on Tommaso’s chin, the lines at the edges of his eyes, and the wrinkles of flesh at the knuckles of the hands. Memling’s clever balance of verisimilitude and idealization of his sitters made him the most sought-after portraitist of his day by both locals and foreigners, and his exported portraits exerted considerable influence abroad, especially in Italy.
[Maryan W. Ainsworth 2011]
Tommaso di Folco Portinari and his wife, Maria Baroncelli, Bruges and palazzo Portinari, Florence (about 1470–Tommaso d. 1501); posthumous inventory, 1501, "una tavoletta dipinta preg[i]ata cum nel mezo una immagine di Nostra Donna e delle bande si è Tommaso e mona Maria sua donna dipinti in deta tavoletta" [a small, valuable panel painting, with an image of Our Lady in the middle and on the sides painted Tommaso and mona Maria his wife]; his son, Francesco di Tommaso Portinari, palazzo Portinari, Florence (1501–in or after 1544; bequeathed to the hospital of S Maria Nuova, mentioned in Francesco's 1544 will as "unum tabernaculettum que clauditur con tribus sportellis, in qua est depicta imago Gloriossime virginis Marie et patris et matris dicti testatoris" [a small tabernacle with three movable wings, in which is depicted the glorious Virgin Mary and the father and mother of the donor]; Santa Maria Nuova, Florence (in or after 1544, perhaps until the Napoleonic occupation); private collection, Italy (until 1843 or 1845); Anatole Nicolaevitch Demidov, principe di San Donato, and his wife, princesse Mathilde Laetitia Wilhelmine Bonaparte, Paris and Florence (1843 or 1845–his d. 1870; his estate sale, Collections de San Donato, Pillet et Petit, Paris, March 3–4, 1870, nos. 212 and 213, as "Portrait d'homme" and "Portrait de Femme," by Dieric Bouts, for Fr 6,000 to Huffer); [Huffer]; private collection, Rome (until about 1900); [Elia Volpi, Florence, about 1900]; [Agnew, London, 1901]; [Léopold Goldschmidt, Paris, 1901–d. before 1904]; [Villeroy Goldschmidt, Paris, until 1910]; [Kleinberger, Paris and New York, 1910; sold for $ 426,500 to Altman]; Benjamin Altman, New York (1910–d. 1913)
Bruges. Palais du Gouvernement. "Exposition des primitifs flamands et d'art ancien," June 15–September 15, 1902, nos. 57, 58 (as portraits of Tommaso Portunari [sic] and his wife Maria, by Hans Memling, lent by Léopold Goldschmidt, Paris).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries," November 15, 1970–February 15, 1971, nos. 208–9.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Dutch Couples: Pair Portraits by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries," January 23–March 5, 1973, no. 2.
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. 27.
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT, BY TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION BY THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.
G. F. Waagen. "Nachträge zur Kenntniss der altniederländischen Malerschulen des 15ten und 16ten Jahrhunderts." Kunstblatt no. 41 (August 24, 1847), p. 163, attributes to Jan van Eyck the portraits of a man and a woman with a "spitzen, zuckerhutartigen Kopftracht" [hennin] in the Demidoff Collection in Paris [presumably our portraits of Tommaso and Maria Portinari]; states that these portraits were acquired by Princess Mathilde in Italy in 1845.
Joseph Archer Crowe and Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle. Les anciens peintres flamands. Vol. 1, Brussels, 1862, vol. 1, p. 99.
Alfred Michiels. Histoire de la peinture flamande depuis ses débuts jusqu'en 1864. Vol. 2, 2nd ed. Paris, 1866, vol. 2, p. 341, lists among the works of Jan van Eyck two portraits in the collection of Princess Mathilde, Paris: a man, and a woman with a hennin headdress.
Émile Galichon. "La galerie de San Donato." Gazette des beaux-arts, 2nd ser., 3 (1870), p. 107, attributes them tentatively to Dieric Bouts; suggests that the sitters were the donors of a large-scale triptych the central part of which has disappeared.
"Vente des collections de San Donato." Chronique des arts et de la curiosité, supplément à la Gazette des beaux-arts (March 13, 1870), p. 43, no. 11, list the two panels as by "Bouts" and states that they were sold together at the1870 San Donato sale in Paris for Fr 6,000 to M. Huffer.
Henri Hymans. "L'exposition des primitifs flamands à Bruges (1er article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 3rd ser., 28 (August 1902), p. 282, suggests Hugo van der Goes as their author.
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, p. 15, nos. 57, 58, as by Memling before 1475; notes that the couple appear younger here than in their portraits in Hugo van der Goes's Portinari altarpiece for Santa Maria Nuova [Uffizi, Florence].
W. H. James Weale. Exposition des primitifs flamands et d'art ancien, Bruges. Première section: tableaux. Catalogue. Exh. cat., Palais du Gouvernement. Bruges, 1902, pp. XXII, 26, nos. 57 and 58, as by Memling, about 1476; identifies them as portraits of Tommaso and Maria Portunari [sic]; notes (p. XXX) that all attributions given in the catalogue are those indicated by the owners.
A. Warburg. "Flandrische Kunst und Florentinische Frührenaissance Studien." Jahrbuch der Köninglich Preussischer Kunstsammlungen 23 (1902), pp. 252–53, 257–58, 260, ill. (reprinted in A. Warburg, "Gasammelte Schriften," 1932, vol. 1, pp. 197–99, ill.), notes that Friedländer identified the sitters as Tommaso and Maria Portinari and informed him of the existence of the portraits in 1901; attributes them to Memling before 1473, about the time of his Last Judgment in Danzig [Muzeum Narodowe, Gdansk], in which Tommaso is depicted naked in the lower scale of Archangel Michael; places our panels chronologically between the portraits of Tommaso and Maria in Memling's Passion of Christ [Galleria Sabauda, Turin] and those on the wings of Hugo's altarpiece in the Uffizi.
W. H. James Weale. "The Early Painters of the Netherlands as Illustrated by the Bruges Exhibition of 1902, Article III." Burlington Magazine 1 (April 1903), p. 336, tentatively suggests that they are early works by Hugo as their style seems too weak for Memling at that time; dates them a few years earlier than Hugo's Portinari altarpiece; observes that Maria's necklace is an exquisite specimen of Florentine goldsmith's work of the period.
Max J. Friedländer. "Die Brügger Leihausstellung von 1902." Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft 26 (1903), p. 81, nos. 57–58, attributes them to Memling and dates them about 1475, approximately contemporary with Hugo's Uffizi altarpiece; notes that a heavy yellow varnish makes it difficult to judge their condition.
W. H. James Weale. "The Early Painters of the Netherlands as Illustrated by the Bruges Exhibition of 1902, Article IV." Burlington Magazine 2 (June 1903), p. 40, ill., an editorial note indicates that the attribution of these portraits to Memling "was doubted by many critics" when they were exhibited at Bruges in 1902.
Karl Voll. Die altniederländische Malerei von Jan van Eyck bis Memling. Leipzig, 1906, p. 225, mentions them as works ascribed to Memling but difficult to judge in their present condiction.
[Hippolyte] Fierens-Gevaert. La peinture en Belgique: Les primitifs flamands. Vol. 2, Brussels, 1909, p. 130 n. 3, mentions the portrait of Tommaso as a rather heavy–handed work from about 1475 attributed to Memling.
Karl Voll. Memling: Des Meisters Gemälde. Stuttgart, 1909, pp. 160–61, 175, ill., lists them with Memling's doubtful works, but notes that in spite of a certain dryness they are consistent with his style.
Georges Hulin de Loo. Letter to Duveen. December 26, 1909, considers them genuine works of Memling from about 1473 (or certainly between 1470 and 1476).
Max J. Friedländer. Letter to Francis Kleinberger. January 26, 1910, as by Memling, about 1475.
Max J. Friedländer. Letter to Francis Kleinberger. February 7, 1910, as without doubt by Memling; quotes opinions of authorities (Hulin [de Loo], Bode and Glück) in support of this attribution.
Wilhelm von Bode. Letter to Francis Kleinberger. February 13, 1910, as very characteristic and fine works of Memling.
Max J. Friedländer. Von Eyck bis Bruegel: Studien zur Geschichte der Niederländischen Malerei. Berlin, 1916, pp. 59, 179.
Max J. Friedländer. "The Altman Memlings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Art in America 4, no. 4 (1916), pp. 194–95, ill., dates them about 1475, from the same period as Hugo's altarpiece in Florence; notes that the portraits were found in Rome, in or about the year 1900, by a Florentine art dealer.
François Monod. "La galerie Altman au Metropolitan Museum de New-York (1er article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 8 (September–October 1923), pp. 193–94, ill. (Maria only), attributes them tentatively to Hugo van der Goes.
Max J. Friedländer. Die altniederländische Malerei. Vol. 4, Hugo van der Goes. Berlin, 1926, p. 25.
Max J. Friedländer. Die altniederländische Malerei. Vol. 6, Memling und Gerard David. Berlin, 1928, pp. 39–40, 129, nos. 69–70, pls. 37–38, dates them about 1472.
Handbook of the Benjamin Altman Collection. 2nd ed. New York, 1928, pp. 43–45, nos. 18–20, suggests that the portraits must have been painted ten to twelve years before Hugo's Portinari Altarpiece, which he dates about 1476.
Franz Dülberg. Niederländische Malerei der Spätgotik und Renaissance. Potsdam, 1929, p. 122, as by Memling, from the same period as Hugo's altarpiece.
H[ans]. V[ollmer]. inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Hans Vollmer. Vol. 24, Leipzig, 1930, p. 376, as by Memling, from about 1472.
Hans Tietze. Meisterwerke europäischer Malerei in Amerika. Vienna, 1935, pp. 333–34, pl. 132a (Tommaso only) [English ed., "Masterpieces of European Painting in America," New York, 1939, p. 317, pl. 132a (Tommaso only)], ascribes them to Memling about 1472.
G. J. Hoogewerff. Vlaamsche kunst en Italiaansche Renaissance. Mechelen, [1935?], pp. 40–41, suggests the portraits were commissioned in 1470, the year of the Portinari's marriage, and that they were the wings of a triptych with the Madonna and Child or the Lamentation at its center.
J[acques]. Lavalleye in "De vlaamsche schilderkunst tot ongeveer 1480." Geschiedenis van de vlaamsche kunst. Ed. Stan Leurs. Antwerp, 1936, p. 376, as Memling about 1472.
Jacques Lavalleye. Juste de Gand: Peintre de Frédéric de Montefeltre. Louvain, 1936, vol. 1, p. 17, places the Turin Passion about 1470 and our portraits several years later.
Jacques Lavalleye. L'art en Belgique du moyen age à nos jours. Ed. Paul Fierens. Brussels, 1939, p. 141.
Germain Bazin. Memling. Paris, 1939, p. 19. pls. 16–17, attributes them to Memling under the influence of Rogier van der Weyden.
Paul Wescher. Grosskaufleute der Renaissance: In Biographien und Bildnissen. Basel, 1941?, pp. 63, 182, ill. (Tommaso only).
Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta Salinger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Early Flemish, Dutch and German Paintings. New York, 1947, pp. 65–68, ill., as by Memling, produced "probably about 1472—certainly not before 1470"; suggest that the two panels were originally wings of a triptych with some devotional subject, probably the Virgin and Child, in the center.
Raymond De Roover. Money, Banking and Credit in Medieval Bruges: Italian Merchant–Bankers, Lombards and Money–Changers. A Study in the Origins of Banking. Cambridge, Mass., 1948, pp. 22, 28 n. 84.
Raymond De Roover. The Medici Bank, Its Organization, Management, Operations, and Decline. New York, 1948, ill. opp. p. 22.
Millia Davenport. The Book of Costume. New York, 1948, vol. 1, pp. 326–27, no. 857, ill. (Maria, cropped).
Ludwig Baldass. Jan van Eyck. New York, 1952, p. 74 n. 2.
C. Aru Et. de Geradon. La Galerie Sabauda de Turin [Les primitifs flamands, I: Corpus de la peinture des anciens pays-bas méridionaux au quinzième siècle, vol. 5]. Antwerp, 1952, pp. 15, 18, date the Turin Passion about 1470, the year of the Portinari marriage, as the couple is shown without children; observe that the Turin donors "are not older" than the sitters for our portraits.
Erwin Panofsky. Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character. Cambridge, Mass., 1953, vol. 1, pp. 348, 479 n. 16 (to p. 294), p. 491 n. 7 (to p. 313), as by Memling about 1470–71; considers them the wings of a triptych with a Madonna and Child at the center.
Harry B. Wehle. "Maria Portinari." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 11 (January 1953), pp. 129–31, ill. p. 130 and on front cover (Maria, in color), gives biographical information about the sitters; places our portraits two years after Memling's Turin Passion of about 1470; discusses other Portinari commissions from Memling and Hugo van der Goes.
Nicole Veronée-Verhaegen. "Note à propos de Jean Gossart et d'une "Tentation de S. Antoine"." Bulletin, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts 4 (March–September 1955), p. 181.
Erik Larsen. Les primitifs flamands au Musée Metropolitain de New York. Utrecht, 1960, pp. 71, 73, 118–19, figs. 18–19, dates them about 1470.
Colin Tobias Eisler. "New England Museums." New England Museums [Les primitifs flamands, I: Corpus de la peinture des anciens pays-bas méridionaux au quinzième siècle, vol. 4]. Brussels, 1961, p. 69, mentions our portraits in relation to that of Gilles Joye attributed to Memling (Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass.), which bears a date of 1472 on its frame.
Jan Bialostocki. Les Musées de Pologne: (Gdansk, Krakow, Warszawa) [Les primitifs flamands, I: Corpus de la peinture des anciens pays-bas méridionaux au quinzième siècle, vol. 9]. Brussels, 1966, pp. 64, 74, pl. 232c (detail of Tommaso's portrait).
John Pope-Hennessy. The Portrait in the Renaissance. Princeton, 1966, p. 311 n. 85, dates them about 1472.
Geoffrey Agnew. Agnew's, 1817–1967. London, 1967, unpaginated, ill.
Charles D. Cuttler. Northern Painting from Pucelle to Bruegel. New York, 1968, pp. 171, 179, dates them about 1472; supports the idea that the portraits were wings of a triptych with a devotional panel in the center.
Giorgio T. Faggin. L'opera completa di Memling. Milan, 1969, p. 108, nos. 87–88, colorpls. 54–55.
Introduction by Kenneth Clark. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, pp. 46, 217, nos. 208–9, ill.
Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, p. 171 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].
Peter Mellen. Jean Clouet: Complete Edition of the Drawings, Miniatures, and Paintings. London, 1971, p. 55.
Max J. Friedländer et al. Early Netherlandish Painting. Vol. 6, Hans Memlinc and Gerard David. New York, 1971, part 1, pp. 26, 54, nos. 69–70, pls. 112–13.
K. B. McFarlane with the assistance of G. L. Harris. Hans Memling. Ed. Edgar Wind. Oxford, 1971, pp. 34 n. 28, ill., as by Memling, from about 1471; believes they antedate by several years Hugo's Portinari Altarpiece.
Peter H. Schabacker. Petrus Christus. Utrecht, 1974, p. 47 n. 48.
Elisabeth Heller. Das altniederländische Stifterbild. PhD diss., Universität München. Munich, 1976, p. 119.
V. Denis. La peinture flamande 15e–16e–17e siècles. Brussels, 1976, p. 115.
Paul Hills. "Leonardo and Flemish Painting." Burlington Magazine 122 (September 1980), pp. 609–10, notes that had the central panel our portraits framed (presumably with a Virgin and Child) reached Florence in the mid-1470s, it could have been studied by Leonardo at the moment when he was turning his attention to the theme of the Virgin and Child.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 193, 197, 200, 205, fig. 360 (Maria).
Liana Castelfranchi Vegas. Italie et Flandres dans la peinture du XVe siècle. Milan, 1984, pp. 195–96, ill. (color) [Italian ed., 1983].
Roberto Salvini. Banchieri fiorentini e pittori di Fiandria. Modena, 1984, pp. 37, 59, figs. 104–5 (color).
James Snyder. Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575. New York, 1985, p. 186, ill.
Guy Bauman. "Early Flemish Portraits, 1425–1525." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 43 (Spring 1986), pp. 51, 53–56, 58, ill., considers plausible a date of execution between their marriage in 1470 and the birth of their first child in September 1471; suggests that the portraits served as models for those in the Turin Passion, which they would therefore predate; observes that the fine black on black pattern on Tommaso's silk damask jacket has becone nearly invisible.
Walter Prevenier Wim Blockmans. The Burgundian Netherlands. Cambridge, 1986, p. 332, fig. 97 (Tommaso, in color).
Introduction by James Snyder inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Renaissance in the North. New York, 1987, pp. 11, 36–37, ill. (color), suggests that Tommaso may have comissioned the portraits to commemorate the couple's marriage in 1470.
M. Comblen-Sonkes with the collaboration of Ignace Vandevivere. Les Musées de l'Institut de France [Les primitifs flamands, 1 Corpus de la peinture des anciens pays-bas mérodionaux au quinzième siècle, vol. 15]. Vol. 15, Brussels, 1988, pp. 8, 69, 84.
M. C. Mendes-Atanázio. "Il trittico Portinari." Revue des archéologues et historiens d'art de Louvain 22 (1989), pp. 18, 23, believes the portraits were brought to Florence in October 1478, where Memling's likeness of Maria served as the model for her face and costume in Hugo's Portinari Triptych; observes, nevertheless, that she seems at least ten years older in Hugo's portrayal.
Hans J. van Miegroet. Gerard David. Antwerp, 1989, p. 105.
Lorne Campbell. Renaissance Portraits. New Haven, 1990, pp. 16, 22, pl. (color), notes that Memling subjects Maria's portrait to personal and contemporary ideals of beauty by raising her brows, elongating her nose, and diffusing the bone structure of her face; sees a striking resemblance to the idealized head of the Virgin in Lisbon (Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga), a panel by Memling of the same size and approximately the same date.
Barbara G. Lane. "The Patron and the Pirate: The Mystery of Memling's Gdansk 'Last Judgment'." Art Bulletin 73 (December 1991), p. 633, figs. 17, 19.
Ronald W. Lightbown. Mediaeval European Jewellery, with a Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria & Albert Museum. London, 1992, pp. 286–87, ill. in color (Maria), discusses the collar worn by Maria in the context of similar examples.
Maryan W. Ainsworth, Selected by Guy C. Bauman, and Walter A. Liedtke inFlemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America. Antwerp, 1992, pp. 24, 74–75, nos. 16a–b, ill. (color), notes that the decorative hennin of Maria Baroncelli (now visible only through x-radiography) was replaced by a more modest one in the final version, perhaps out of deference to the devotional subject of the lost central panel.
Valentin Vermeersch et al. inBruges and Europe. Ed. Valentin Vermeersch. Antwerp, 1992, pp. 194, 196–97, 334, ill. (color).
Roberta Ferrazza. Palazzo Davanzati e le collezioni di Elia Volpi. Florence, 1993, pp. 90–91, 136 n. 55, ill., mentions them among works formerly in the Volpi collection, Florence.
Masterpieces of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Barbara Burn. New York, 1993, p. 123, ill. (color).
Jochen Sander. Niederländische Gemälde im Städel, 1400–1550. Mainz, 1993, pp. 301–3, ill., sees the influence of Italian relief portraits in the use of a trompe-l'oeil frame that differs in color from the background; notes that this device ultimately derives from the Italian portrait medal tradition.
Bernhard Ridderbos. "In de suizende stilte van de binnenkamer: Interpretaties van het Arnolfini–portret." Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 44 (1993), p. 70, ill.
Hans Belting and Christiane Kruse. Die Erfindung des Gemäldes: Das erste Jahrhundert der niederländischen Malerei. Munich, 1994, p. 231, ill.
Dirk De Vos. Hans Memling: The Complete Works. Ghent, 1994, pp. 30–31, 34, 100–103, 108, 110, 130–31, 258, 316, 336, 366, 370, no. 9, ill. (color, overall and details of both portraits), believes the devotional triptych to which our panels belonged most likely stayed in Bruges with Tommaso until 1497 and suggests that van der Goes saw Maria's portrait there, using it as the basis for his depiction of her in his Uffizi triptych; notes that in our portraits and several others from this period the artist places the figures in front of a trompe l'oeil stone frame, enhancing the illusion of proximity to the viewer.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Hans Memling as a Draughtsman." Hans Memling: Essays. Ed. Dirk De Vos. Ghent, 1994, pp. 85–86, figs. 17–18 (Maria, and x-radiograph of Maria), notes that x-radiography reveals that Maria's hennin was originally decorated with pearls forming the letters "T" and "M" for Tommaso and Maria, as it is in Hugo's Portinari Altarpiece, and suggests that such a jewelled hennin may have been "deemed too conspicuous a show of opulence in the presence of the Virgin and Child, most likely the now lost object of Maria's veneration".
Dirk De Vos. Hans Memling: Catalogue. Exh. cat., Groeninge Museum, Bruges. Ghent, 1994, pp. 16, 27, 50–51, 57, 150, 156, 202.
Peter Klein. "Dendrochronological Analysis of Panels of Hans Memling." Hans Memling: Essays. Ed. Dirk De Vos. Ghent, 1994, p. 103, gives estimated felling dates for the panels used in these portraits.
Maximiliaan P. J. Martens. "De Opdrachtgevers van Hans Memling." Hans Memling: Essays. Ed. Dirk De Vos. Ghent, 1994, pp. 24–25, fig. 13 (Maria).
Paul Eeckhout inLes primitifs flamands et leur temps. Ed. Brigitte de Patoul and Roger van Schoute. Louvain-la-Neuve, 1994, pp. 462–63, ill. (color).
Maryan W. Ainsworth. Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, p. 6.
John Oliver Hand. Hans Memling's Saint John the Baptist & Saint Veronica. Exh. cat.Washington, 1994, unpaginated, figs. 7–8.
Liana Castelfranchi. "Firenze e la ritrattistica di Memling." Scritti per l'Instituto Germanico di Storia dell'Arte di Firenze. Ed. Cristina Acidini–Luchinat et al. Florence, 1997, pp. 151–52, 156 n. 1.
Frédéric Elsig. "La 'Passion' de Turin: Un séjour de Memling à la cour de Savoie en 1476?" Histoire de l'art no. 39 (October 1997), pp. 91–93, ill.
Víctor I. Stoichita. The Self-Aware Image: An Insight into Early Modern Meta-Painting. Cambridge, 1997, pp. 58–59, 290 n. 47, fig. 35.
Jos Koldeweij inLa pittura nei Paesi Bassi. Ed. Bert W. Meijer. Milan, 1997, vol. 1, p. 117.
Mary Sprinson de Jesús inFrom 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. vii, 3, 19, 35, 44, 66, 74, 141, 154, 160, 162–66, 169–70, 174, 176, 178, 194, no. 27, ill. (color, both panels, and color detail of Maria).
Charles Sterling and Maryan W. Ainsworth inThe Robert Lehman Collection. Vol. 2, Fifteenth- to Eighteenth-Century European Paintings. New York, 1998, pp. 9–10 n. 4.
Jean C. Wilson. Paintings in Bruges at the Close of the Middle Ages: Studies in Society and Visual Culture. University Park, Pa., 1998, pp. 54–58, 77, 215 n. 48, figs. 18 and 19.
John Oliver Hand. "New York. From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Burlington Magazine 140 (December 1998), p. 855, ill.
Karen Wilkin. "A Northern Renaissance at the Metropolitan." New Criterion (November 1998), p. 50.
Francisco Fernández Pardo et al., ed. Las tablas flamencas en la ruta Jacobea. Exh. cat., Claustro de la Iglesia de Palacio, Logroño. San Sebastián, Spain, 1999, p. 150, ill.
Michael Rohlmann. "Flanders and Italy, Flanders and Florence. Early Netherlandish Painting in Italy and its Particular Influence on Florentine Art: An Overview." Italy and the Low Countries—Artistic Relations: The Fifteenth Century. Florence, 1999, p. 50, in a discussion of Italian artists' adoption of Northern ideas related to the organization of picture space, compares Piero di Cosimo's Saint Mary Magdalen [Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica] in Rome with our portrait of Maria Portinari; notes that the subject in both pictures is "shown against an opaque, dark background and appears to come forward out of the picture plane by cutting across a 'trompe-l'oeil' stone frame".
Louis Alexander Waldman. "New Documents for Memling's Portinari Portraits in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Apollo 153 (February 2001), pp. 28–33, ill. in color, confirms through archival research that the panels were the wings of a triptych with a Virgin and Child at its center; notes that this small altarpiece was inherited by Tommaso's son Francesco and later bequeathed by him to the nuns of the hospital of S. Maria Nuova in Florence.
Paula Nuttall et al. in Till-Holger Borchert. The Age of Van Eyck: The Mediterranean World and Early Netherlandish Painting, 1430–1530. Exh. cat., Groeningemuseum, Bruges. Ghent, 2002, pp. 85, 180, 199, 201–2 n. 9.
Marina Belozerskaya. Rethinking the Renaissance: Burgundian Arts Across Europe. Cambridge, 2002, pp. 242–43, figs. 64–65.
Dirk De Vos. The Flemish Primitives: The Masterpieces. Antwerp, 2002, p. 144, ill. 34.
Margaret Koster. "New Documentation for the Portinari Altar-piece." Burlington Magazine 145 (March 2003), pp. 169–70, ill. (color), publishes Tommaso's will and new information about his later career from the recently found Portinari archive; challenges the idea that he died destitute; presents evidence that he continued to represent Lorenzo de Medici abroad even after the failure of the Medici bank in Bruges and served as Florentine ambassador on numerous occassions; points out that Maria was the executor of her husband's will in 1501.
Paula Nuttall. From Flanders to Florence: The Impact of Netherlandish Painting, 1400–1500. New Haven, 2004, pp. 57, 59, 64–65, 70–72, 260, 272 nn. 45, 60, p. 290 n. 13, p. 292 n. 7, colorpls. 40, 50, 67, 68 (overall and detail of both), discusses at length Tommaso's role in the culture, politics, and business life of Bruges.
Lorne Campbell inMemling's Portraits. Ed. Till-Holger Borchert. Exh. cat., Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Ghent, 2005, pp. 52, 54, 57, 61, ill. pl. 2a–b (color).
Maryan W. Ainsworth inMemling's Portraits. Ed. Till-Holger Borchert. Exh. cat., Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Ghent, 2005, pp. 92–93, 95–96, 99–102, 106–7, ill. (color, overall and detail, and x-radiograph)
Paula Nuttall inMemling's Portraits. Ed. Till-Holger Borchert. Exh. cat., Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Ghent, 2005, pp. 68, 70, 73–74, 78, ill. pl. 2 (color).
Till-Holger Borchert. Memling's Portraits. Exh. cat., Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Ghent, 2005, pp. 151, 164, 167–68, 175.
Peter Klein inMemling's Portraits. Ed. Till-Holger Borchert. Exh. cat., Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Ghent, 2005, pp. 180–81, provides a tabulated dendrochronological analysis of panels attributed to Hans Memling.
Till-Holger Borchert. "Collecting Early Netherlandish Paintings in Europe and the United States." Early Netherlandish Paintings: Rediscovery, Reception and Research. Ed. Bernhard Ridderbos et al. English ed. Amsterdam, 2005, p. 212, figs. 117–18 [Dutch ed., "'Om iets te weten van de oude meesters'. De Vlaamse Primitieven—herontdekking, waardering en onderzoek," Nijmegen, 1995].
Bernhard Ridderbos in "Objects and Questions." Early Netherlandish Paintings: Rediscovery, Reception and Research. Ed. Bernhard Ridderbos et al. English ed. Amsterdam, 2005, pp. 115, 121 [Dutch ed., "'Om iets te weten van de oude meesters'. De Vlaamse Primitieven—herontdekking, waardering en onderzoek," Nijmegen, 1995].
Catheline Périer-d'Ieteren. Dieric Bouts: The Complete Works. Brussels, 2006, p. 210, fig. 199 (x-radiograph of Maria), remarks that Memling's faces rarely show any underdrawing as "the powdery residue of black chalk would have been visible through the diaphanous modelling"; suggests that the "thin yet confident incised lines" outlining Maria's face here may be a sign of the transfer through tracing of a detailed preliminary drawing from life.
Hugo van der Velden. "Diptych Altarpieces and the Principle of Dextrality." Essays in Context: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych. Ed. John Oliver Hand and Ron Spronk. Cambridge, Mass., 2006, p. 149 n. 14 [published in conjunction with the 2006 exh. cat., "Prayers and Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych"].
Pascale Syfer-d'Olne et al. The Flemish Privitives IV: Catalogue of Early Netherlandish Painting in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. Vol. 4, Masters with Provisional Names. Brussels, 2006, p. 412 n. 21, compare the clothing worn by the female donor in the Master of 1473's Jan de Witte Triptych with that worn by Maria Portinari in our panel.
Diane Wolfthal. "Florentine Bankers, Flemish Friars, and the Patronage of the Portinari Altarpiece." Cultural Exchange Between the Low Countries and Italy (1400–1600). Ed. Ingrid Alexander-Skipnes. Turnhout, Belgium, 2007, pp. 2, 16.
Susanne Franke. "Between Status and Spiritual Salvation: 'The Portinari triptych' and Tommaso Portinari's concern for his 'memoria'." Simiolus 33, no. 3 (2007–8), pp. 135–36, 138–39, fig. 9, notes that these portraits and Hugo's donor portraits in the Portinari Triptych (Uffizi, Florence) mimic contemporary portraits of the Duke and Duchesses of Burgundy, and sees them as part of Tommaso's "marketing strategy" and striving for social status within Bruges and the court of Charles the Bold; notes that documents in the Bruges City Archives reveal that he planned to live out his life in Bruges and be buried there in the church of St. James; believes Tommaso originally intended both the Uffizi triptych and the small devotional triptych to which our portraits belonged to remain in his adopted city, presumably in the family chapel in the church of St. James; compares the appearance of the Portinaris in Memling's and Hugo's portraits with that of Charles the Bold and Isabella of Bourbon in two anonymous contemporary portraits (Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent), noting that the couples not only resemble each other, but the costumes and haircuts of the men are quite similar, as are the necklaces, necklines, and hennins of the women; adds that, just as the initials of Charles and Margaret decorate the latter's hennin, the initials of Maria and Tommaso are visible in the underdrawing, as part of the original plan for the hennin in our panel (see Ainsworth 1994).
Bert W. Meijer et al. inFirenze e gli antichi Paesi Bassi 1430–1530, dialoghi tra artisti: da Jan van Eyck a Ghirlandaio, da Memling a Raffaello . . . Ed. Bert W. Meijer. Exh. cat., Palazzo Pitti, Galleria Palatina, Florence. Livorno, 2008, pp. 27, 54, 138, 184, 190.
Margaret L. Koster. Hugo van der Goes and the Procedures of Art and Salvation. London, 2008, p. 85, fig. 41 (color).
Barbara G. Lane. Hans Memling: Master Painter in Fifteenth-Century Bruges. London, 2009, pp. 81, 83, 90 n. 14, pp. 95, 118, 150, 170 n. 17, pp. 199–202, 206, 216–17 nn. 31, 66, pp. 278, 289, 292, 295–96, 298 n. 6 to no. 53, p. 316 n. 1 to no. 68, no. 50, figs. 113–14.
Maryan W. Ainsworth inMan, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart's Renaissance. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2010, pp. 18, 238, 256, fig. 15 (Maria; color).
Julia Gerth. Wirklichkeit und Wahrnehmung: Hans Memlings Turiner Passion und die Bildgruppe der Passionspanoramen. Berlin, 2010, p. 24, figs. 17–18.
Lynn F. Jacobs. Opening Doors: The Early Netherlandish Triptych Reinterpreted. University Park, Pa., 2012, pp. xii, 168, 322 n. 56, fig. 73.
Catheline Périer-d'Ieteren inL'héritage de Rogier van der Weyden: La peinture à Bruxelles 1450–1520. Ed. Brigitte de Patoul and Beatrijs Wolters van der Wey. Exh. cat., Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels. Tielt, 2013, pp. 70–71 n. 8.
Barbara G. Lane inMemling: Rinascimento fiammingo. Ed. Till-Holger Borchert. Exh. cat., Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome. Milan, 2014, pp. 29, 31, 36 nn. 57, 68.
Federica Veratelli in Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome. Memling: Rinascimento fiammingo. Ed. Till-Holger Borchert. Exh. cat.Milan, 2014, pp. 57, 62 (Tommaso), 64 n. 66 (Maria), figs. 1–2 (color).
Till-Holger Borchert inMemling: Rinascimento fiammingo. Ed. Till-Holger Borchert. Exh. cat., Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome. Milan, 2014, p. 200, under no. 39, p. 220, under no. 49.
Mieke Parez inMemling: Rinascimento fiammingo. Ed. Till-Holger Borchert. Exh. cat., Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome. Milan, 2014, p. 229.
Virginia Brilliant inPiero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2015, p. 167, figs. 1, 2 (color), under no. 21, suggests that Piero's "Saint Mary Magdalen" of about 1500–1505 (Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Palazzo Barberini, Rome) was influenced by these two pictures, which were brought to Florence in about 1500.
Bert W. Meijer inPiero di Cosimo, 1462–1522: pittore eccentrico fra Rinascimento e Maniera. Exh. cat., Galleria degli Uffizi. Florence, 2015, pp. 142, 147 n. 28, fig. 10 (color, Maria).
Everett Fahy inPiero di Cosimo, 1462–1522: pittore eccentrico fra Rinascimento e Maniera. Exh. cat., Galleria degli Uffizi. Florence, 2015, p. 234.
Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, p. 268, nos. 146–47, ill. pp. 154–55, 268 (color, overall, and detail of Maria).
John Marciari inHans Memling: Portraiture, Piety, and a Reunited Altarpiece. Ed. John Marciari. Exh. cat., Morgan Library & Museum, New York. London, 2016, pp. 29, 33, 43 n. 22.
Till-Holger Borchert inHans Memling: Portraiture, Piety, and a Reunited Altarpiece. Ed. John Marciari. Exh. cat., Morgan Library & Museum, New York. London, 2016, p. 61 n. 20.
Maria Portinari was still alive in 1501, when she served as the executor of Tommaso's will. We do not, however, know the date of her death.