Master of Delft

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(b c. 1470; fl c. 1490–1520). North Netherlandish painter. He is stylistically related to the Master of the Virgo inter Virgines, who is believed to have been active in Delft. His association with Delft is also suggested by the inclusion of the tower of the Nieuwe Kerk (completed 1496) in the background of his early Crucifixion triptych with other scenes from the Passion (London, N.G.), a full-dress Calvary of the sort popular in the Rhineland and the northern Netherlands during the 15th century. With its large crowds of highly animated and brilliantly dressed spectators and participants and with its particular emphasis on the presence of children, this altarpiece strongly reflects the practical piety of Geert Grote and the teachings of Thomas à Kempis, which stressed the importance of the imitation of Christ in daily life and the vital necessity to educate the young. A kneeling donor in Carthusian dress at the lower left of the central panel—the only immobile figure in this painting apart from the crucified Christ—led Châtelet to propose that the altarpiece may have been painted for the abbey of Bartholomausdael, near Delft. A further connection with Delft is suggested by a pair of altarpiece wings (Cologne, Franzen priv. col., see Friedländer, pls 48–9) painted in the Master's workshop about 1510, bearing the arms and portraits of Dirk van Beest (d 1545), Mayor of Delft, and his wife, Gertruyt van Diemen, as well as portraits of their five children, including their son, Theodore, a Carthusian monk. (Only the portraits of the patron saints, John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene, appear to be by the Master's own hand; the wings form a triptych with a central panel depicting the Virgin and Child with St Anne by the Master of Frankfurt.)


From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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