Saturday, 11 August 2012

Hans Memling and The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine

'The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine' (1474-79) by Hans Memling;
Memlingmuseum, Bruges

I never thought much of German painter Hans Memling, born c. 1430 and died on 11 August 1494. But having been in Rome last week and being surrounded by Renaissance art, it makes me look at Memling's work with a fresh pair of eyes. I have seen Compassion for the Dead Christ, With a Donor in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj but although it is quite beautiful, I don't really like the depiction of the Dead Christ. Memling, whose work shows the style and composition of his teacher Rogier van der Weyden, was very popular between the 1460s and 1480s. He was artist number one in Bruges and the most popular Flemish artist abroad. He got commissioned for altarpieces all over Europe. With Florentine and Venetian art reaching its peak, Memling's work received high praises in Italy because of its calm harmony. For today I have chosen 'The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine', a subject that's been used frequently in Christian art. If you want to read more about it, click here. This painting, which is oil on wood, is the central panel of the St. John altarpiece and brings together many of the characteristics of Memling's art. I don't know much about the meaning and story of the painting, I should read up on that, but I do like the colours and this reminds me indeed a lot of Rogier van de Weyden.

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