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From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Ainsworth, Maryan W., and Keith Christiansen, eds., with contributions by Maryan W. Ainsworth, Julien Chapuis, Keith Christiansen, Everett Fahy, Nadine M. Orenstein, Véronique Sintobin, Della C. Sperling, and Mary Sprinson de Jesús
464 pages
312 illustrations
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Published on the occasion of the exhibition From Van Eyck to Bruegel this book presents an overview of one of the great epochs of Western art as seen through the extensive collection of the Metropolitan Museum. The period covered, sometimes referred to as the northern Renaissance, encompasses a century and a quarter of unparalleled artistic innovation and achievement realized in the geographic area of modern Belgium and the Netherlands. It opens about 1425 with the legendary inventor of oil painting, Jan van Eyck, and concludes with one of the most original geniuses of European art, Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Virtually every major master active during this era is represented, including Van Eyck, Robert Campin, Rogier van der Weyden, Petrus Christus, Dieric Bouts, Hugo van der Goes, Hans Memling, Gerard David, Joos van Cleve, Quentin Massys, Jan Gossart, Bernard van Orley, Joachim Patinir, and Bruegel.

Early Netherlandish artists pioneered a realistic style that redefined the nature of painting and the way contemporary viewers related to pictures. Through the use of a newly perfected oil technique, painters embraced the vastness and variety of the world and suggested the actuality of everyday life. The viewer becomes an active participant in the images these artists created, in which the sacred and the profane, the real and the imagined intermesh.

The volume is arranged thematically to emphasize the ways artists employed realism as a strategy. Introductory essays illuminate aspects of early Netherlandish painting: the history of its critical fortunes and scholarship; its acquisition by fifteenth- and sixteenth-century patrons; its relationship to Italian Renaissance painting; and the building of the Museum's collection in this area. Shorter essays that precede chapters of entries on individual pictures address religious painting, portraiture, and workshop practice and the art market, as well as the Bruges painter Gerard David and Bruegel's role in the development of modern landscape painting. The texts are lavishly supported by illustrations of works in the Museum's collection as well as comparative material.

This is the first catalogue to bring together all the Metropolitan's holdings of Netherlandish art—the largest such collection in the Western hemisphere. Written by a team of staff experts, it is a major contribution to the understanding and study of early Netherlandish painting. A map, provenances, references, biographies of the artists, an illustrated appendix of un-catalogued paintings in the collection, a glossary of terms, an extensive bibliography, and an index are provided.

Met Art in Publication

The Holy Virgins Greeted by Christ as They Enter the Gates of Paradise, Simon Marmion  French, Tempera and gold leaf on parchment
ca. 1467–70
Madonna and Child with the Young Saint John the Baptist, Fra Bartolomeo (Bartolomeo di Paolo del Fattorino)  Italian, Oil and gold on wood
ca. 1497
The Resurrection, Wool warp;  wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts, South Netherlandish
South Netherlandish
ca. 1515–25
Crib of the Infant Jesus, Wood, polychromy, lead, silver-gilt, painted parchment, silk embroidery with seed pearls, gold thread, translucent enamels, South Netherlandish
South Netherlandish
15th century
The Crucifixion; The Last Judgment, Jan van Eyck  Netherlandish, Oil on canvas, transferred from wood
ca. 1436–38
Annunciation Triptych (Merode Altarpiece), Robert Campin  Netherlandish, Oil on oak, South Netherlandish
ca. 1427–32
Head of Christ (Ecce Homo), Petrus Christus  Netherlandish, Oil on parchment, laid down on wood
ca. 1445
The Lamentation, Petrus Christus  Netherlandish, Oil on wood
ca. 1450
The Annunciation, Petrus Christus  Netherlandish, Oil on wood
ca. 1445
Virgin and Child, Dieric Bouts  Netherlandish, Oil on wood
ca. 1455–60
The Adoration of the Magi, Justus of Ghent  Netherlandish, Distemper on canvas
ca. 1475
Christ Bearing the Cross, North Netherlandish (Bruges) Painer  Netherlandish, Oil on wood
The Lamentation of Christ, Simon Marmion  French, Oil and tempera (?) on oak panel
ca. 1473
The Annunciation, Hans Memling  Netherlandish, Oil on wood
ca. 1465–70
Virgin and Child with Saints Catherine of Alexandria and Barbara, Hans Memling  Netherlandish, Oil on wood
early 1480s
The Annunciation, Hans Memling  Netherlandish, Oil on panel, transferred to canvas
Abner's Messenger before David; The Queen of Sheba Bringing Gifts to Solomon; The Annunciation, Master of the Saint Barbara Legend and Collaborator Netherlandish, Oil on oak
ca. 1480
Saint Paul with a Donor; Christ Appearing to His Mother, Master of the Saint Ursula Legend  Netherlandish, Oil on wood
ca. 1485
The Life and Miracles of Saint Godelieve, Master of the Saint Godelieve Legend  Netherlandish, Oil on wood
Scenes from the Life of Saint Augustine of Hippo, Master of Saint Augustine  Netherlandish, Oil, gold, and silver on wood, South Netherlandish
ca. 1490
Showing 20 of 159

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View Citations

Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), Maryan Wynn Ainsworth, and Keith Christiansen, eds. 1998. From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art : Distributed by H.N. Abrams.