Hans Memling(or Memlinc)(ca. 1430,Seligenstat - 1494, Brugge),a painter. He might be a collabolater of Roger van der Weyden(1399/1400-1464,Bruxelles) in Bruxelles until his death (1464) and went to Brugge. In Brugge, he got european fame and became rich. In WWW, this site is a reference : MEMLING in WEB MUSEUM. DeVos counts 93 works survived(contains several large masterpieces) Representative work is St. John Alterpiece (dated 1479. Sint Jans Hospital, Brugge)(D31,F11). (D31,F11) is a abreviation of (DeVos book(ref.1)'s Number31, Friedländer's book(ref3)'s Number11). This is detail of central panel, St. Catheline accepts ring from baby Christ. Its former title was Mistic mariage of St. Catheline. Some scholars had attributed her to a portrait of Mary of Burgundy, but it was denied , comparing her tomb-effigy, unfortunately. Attribution of attractive St. Barbara to a portrait of Margaret of York was denied, too;Unfortunately!.
A fine concise dictionary of Murrys'(ref.6) wrote: "His religious pictures add nothing to what he took from the styles of Roger van der Weyden and Dieric Bouts."
Even Max J. Friedländer wrote(ref. 2), although I respect him.
"Of the famous Nederlanders of the fifteenth century Memling least deserves the title of innovater or expander in the realm of art. Neither through imagination nor throuth observation was he, like Goes or Geertgen, carried forward along the highway or even down byways. Compared with older masters he is imitative and his pictures seem faded in their opaque colouring."
A japanese scholar carelessly wrote: "To sweeten a Roger's work and decorate
it with Renessance style floral patterns. This is Memling's work."
Renessance floral patterns are seen only in Ressurcation Alterpiece(Louvre), Vienna Madonna, and a Madonna and Child (Ufitti).
Erwin Panovsky wrote a joke ; "a major minor master".
I think these should oppose to 19th century overpraized image of MEMLINC. To heighten the great masters "Master of Flaemal"(Robert Campin?), Roger van der Weyden, Hugo van der Goes, and Direk Bouts ,newly re-descovered, they had to diminish too large glory of Memlinc as representative of early flandre paintings in late 19th - early 20th century. Now, i.e. March of 1999, it is needless to haul such jounalistic blamings. They mislead readers to humble image of Memling. I recommend to search the qualities of works by Memling, again.
The canal is outer area of Brugge near the station.
Especially in late 19-early 20th century, image of Memling was
extremely tighted to this old beutiful sightseeing city and its Sint-Jans
It is not wrong, but too strong.
Memling's beuty was re-descovered among early flandre paintings under Romantic trend ,in 19th century.
The fame of "divine" painter legend of Memling also spred. Biography of Memling was distorted. Although Memling really lived in his large house in SintJoris Straat, he was said to live in Sint Jans Hospital with nuns.
Gustave Courbet copied St. John alterpiece during his visit 1844. William Morris, G. Seurat, Paul Gauguin, Felix Valloton, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec visited Sint Jans Hospital in Brugge. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, in 1849, wrote "pure religious sentiment and ecstasic poetry.. Godlike completeness.. intrinstic superiority of Memling's Intellect".
It went under trend of Gothic rivival, and Pre-Raphaerian movement, In about 1908, a light popular picturebook (ref. 7) : "By far the most popular of all the early Flemish painters is Hans Memling." In an essay by fine american writer J. G. Huneker(1857-1921) wrote in "Huysmans"(1909) that "Directly talking, I cannot apprecaite this grave Madonna and child by Daret (of Master of Flaemal in Francfort Statel Musuem, He regard the painter as Jacque Daret. Now it is denied. Robert Campin should be certain. )...cut.. It lacks delightful melancholy" (This quotation is re-translated from Japanese translation.)
Another similar example exists. After the redescovery of J.S.Bach by Felix Mendelszoon, J.S.Bach was regarded as "saint composer devoting Luthar church" for many years. Scholars should show real Bach. It sometimes tends blaming. Irritated by such descriptions, E.M.Cioran wrote, "Bach etait querelleur, processif, regardant, avide de titres, d'honneurs etc. Eh bien! qu'est-ce que cela peu faire?" (Bach was quarrelsome, liked trials, was stingy, and eager to titles and honours, etc. Phew! What is the matter with him ? ) (in "De l'inconvenienent d'etre ne", 1973, Paris)
After 1945, since many blamings might support, many monographs haven't been published about Memling. I could read ref.2 and ref.3. Fortunately, Dirk DeVos recently published a great volumes full coloured book(ref.1) Maybe 500 years anniversary of Memling's passing away. Its frontcover is the right wing of "Diptych of Maarten van Nieuwenhove"(dated 1487. in Sint Jans Hospital, Brugge(D78, F14).44.7x33.5cm. This picure is in very good condition and shows its quality. Its delicate touch!. Charming percepective in background!. It is a mild realization of a fresh youngman, revealing painter's friendship ,maybe. Maarten van Nieuwenhove(1463/Nov.-1500/8/16) was 23. He is a member of prominennt family. His family links to Emperor Maxmillian of Austria. He becomes a counciller, a captain of civic gourd, and burgomeister later. His brother was a burgomeister of Brugge, and executed when 1488 war against the Emperor happened.
Annunciation(78.3x56.2cm)(D84,F26) in Lehman Wings,
Metropolitan Museum leads Parmigiamino.
Madonna and angels make S-shape construcion.
Arc lines of madonna and angels shows complicated movements as a lady is
Potential movements of Figures construct surprizing unity.
Two angels aiding is a rare iconography before that time.
Bathseba in Stuttgart(StaatsGalerie)(D76,F25) is much bold(191.5x84.6cm). Please show me prototype of this life-size nude painting. Only the Eve in Ghent-Alterpiece by Jan van Eyk can match it. Memling's is more plain and has a movement, comparing with the sensual and static van Eyk's. DeVos reminds it of a japan nude woodbrock print ( maybe late 18th century) depicting such bath scene. Martin Davis suggests lost Roger's painting "lady in Bath" in Bruxelles, but it has no evidence.
Indeed "Triptych with Adration of Magi" in Prado(D13,F1) and "Triptych of Jan Floreins"(dated 1479,Brugge, Sint-JansHospital)(D32,F2) are loose imitaion of Roger's Columba Alterpiece(Alte Pinakotek, Munch), it is often to copy master's work as a collaborator. Roger himself may copy Master of Flaemal(Robert Campin?). Moreover Memling may paint some parts of the Columba Alterpiece as a collaborator of Roger, because Memling often take parts of the Columba Alterpiece.
Danzig Last Judgement(ca. 1470, Gudansk, Museum Narodowe.)(D4,F8)
was often called an imitation of Beune
Last Judgement by Roger van der Weyden.
Comparing two masterpieces,
there are many differences.
Right and left wings are much distinct. Their dramatic
mood likes almostly P.P.Rubens.
In these panels, I feel Character to tend baroque in Memling.
Central panel Christ and Saints are apparently direct copy of
Beune Panel. As both are too similar, Memling sould gaze the Beaune
alterpiece in Roger's Atlier, and made reduced copy and dessins.
Danzig Last judgement shows inventions and imitation of Hans Memling himself. Perhaps, Danzig masterpiece hadn't good plates until recent. It may depend on cold war. Thus scholars might overlook the quality. DeVos(ref.1) shows excellent colour plates.
Jacopo Tani and Tomaso Portenari are his italian patrons living in Brugge. Many italian images might been imported through such patrons.
Passion Triptych in Lubeck, Sankt-Annen-Museum(dated 1491)(D90,F3)
has me feel strange. Although
its history was apparent from 1491 and should be shipped to Lubeck
from Memlinc's Atlier, Brugge,
I can't regard it a complete autograph.
Comparing with St. John's Alterpiece and Danzig Last Judgement,
it lacks tension and aristocracy.
It has loose construction and hashed mass. Faces seem vain. Many figures
seeem to be painted by a romanist as such as Q. Massys.
Slender saints in shutters are specially painted by next generations.
As later work by George de laTour(e.g.Soldiers playing dies, in Middelbough ), this decline shows that old Memling should leave control the total work to and depend on collaborators.
Much curiously, Ewers(1972) discovered portraites of Albrecht Durer and his teacher Michel Worgemut under the cross of Good Thief. Durer worked as a journeyman at Brugge's Atlier??.