Simon Bening (Netherlandish, Ghent (?) 1483/84–1561 Bruges) , with borders by an assistant
Tempera and gold leaf on parchment
7 3/8 x 5 1/4 in. (18.8 x 13.3cm)
Manuscripts and Illuminations
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Not on view
Simon Bening was one of the most famous illuminators of the sixteenth century. This leaf, which is in an excellent state of preservation, was part of an opulent, two-volume book of hours made for Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg (1490–1545). Archbishop and elector of Mainz, Albrecht was an ambitious patron of the arts. In addition to two other manuscripts by Bening, Albrecht also commissioned works from Dürer, Grünewald, and Cranach. This Pietà, with its border scenes of Noli me tangere and the Holy Women at the Sepulcher, would have introduced the Hours of the Compassion of the Virgin in the first volume of Albrecht’s manuscript. Executed in the early 1520s, the Hours of Albrecht of Brandenburg date from the most productive decade of Bening’s long career.
Inscription: On the verso of the parchment mount: in the center, a painted medallion with the arms of Frederick, fourth marquess of Londonderry, and inscribed FREDERICH MARQUIS OF LONDONDERRY ROMA MDCCCLVI
Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg (1490-1545); possibly private collection, the Netherlands; Frederick, fourth marquess of Londonderry (purchased in Rome in 1856); Captain G. Pitt-Rivers, Manor House, Hinton Saint Mary, Dorset (Pitt-Rivers sale 1929, lot 130); [A. Horace Buttery, London]. Acquired by Robert Lehman from Buttery in 1929.
Sandra Hindman, Chicago, Mirella Levi D'Ancona, Pia Palladino, and Maria Francesca Saffiotti. "Illuminations." Robert Lehman Collection. IV, New York, 1997.