(fl c. 1475–1505). South Netherlandish painter and draughtsman. This name was coined by Friedländer to identify the artist responsible for a group of paintings linked stylistically to the panel of the Legend of St Lucy (1480; Bruges, St Jacob). Some 45 to 50 paintings are associated with this master, although variations among them suggest workshop participation in certain cases. Some silverpoint drawings have also been attributed to him (Roberts). Depictions of the city of Bruges in the background of some of his paintings record changes in the belfry, which was being remodelled from 1483 to c. 1502. Verhaegen noted four distinct forms of the belfry recorded in them, and on this and the stylistic evidence of the paintings themselves she proposed a chronology for the artist's works. The Virgin among Holy Women (Brussels, Mus. A. Anc.), dated to c. 1490, typifies his mature style: ponderous figures occupy a shallow space near the picture plane in a static, symmetrical composition with lush foliage and brocaded garments that display a detailed rendering of surface textures characteristic of 15th-century Netherlandish art. The Master's paintings are technically proficient reworkings of established themes. As a narrative, the Legend of St Lucy is unusual among the artist's surviving works, as most of them are devotional images, including, in particular, many images of the Virgin, such as the Brussels Virgin among Holy Women, a Virgin and Child Enthroned (Los Angeles, CA, Co. Mus. A.) and a half-length Virgin and Child (Williamstown, MA, Clark A. Inst.). The static compositions, cool colours and subdued emotion of his works (e.g. the triptych of the Lamentation; Minneapolis, MN, Inst. A.) give his paintings a solemn, rather than expressive, effect.
From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Renaissance Art.