Friday, 5 October 2012

Joachim Patinir and Landscape with Charon Crossing the River Styx

'Landscape with Charon Crossing the River Styx' (c. 1515-1524) by Joachim Patinir;
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Like the paintings by Bosch and Bruegel, I find those by Flemish painter Joachim Patinir, born c. 1480 and died on 5 October 1524, impressive and fascinating. I read that the art by Patinir forms a link between Bosch and Bruegel, his style being a combination of naturalistic detail and a sense of fantasy. There's not much known of Patinir's early life or artistic training but we do know he became a member of the Antwerp Guild of painters in 1515. Albrecht Dürer, who became his friend, called him a good landscape painter and mentioned him frequently in his notes on his travels. Patinir also painted landscape backgrounds for other painters, and the figures that appear in his own paintings were often painted by other artists. He was the first Flemish painter who regarded himself primarily as a landscape painter although many of his paintings cannot be regarded as pure landscapes. He depicted mythological and religious scenes and the figures are completely integrated in the landscape. When you see his paintings, you notice a blue and green palette which I find beautiful. I have seen his art work at the Prado in Madrid and was very much impressed by it. Today's painting is a depiction of Charon, the ferryman who crosses the river Styx and leads the dead to Hades, the god of the underworld. A departing soul faces the dilemma of choosing between Paradise and Hell. To read more about the painting, you can read its Wikipedia page.

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