Master of the Pearl of Brabant

(fl. c. 1470—1490)

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Dieric Bouts (c. 1420—1475)


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(fl c. 1470–90). Netherlandish painter. The Pearl of Brabant is a triptych of the Adoration of the Magi with wings showing St John the Baptist in the Wilderness (left) and St Christopher Crossing a River (right) (Munich, Alte Pin.), traditionally ascribed to Dieric Bouts the elder (see Bouts, (1), fig. 2). This attribution was questioned by Heiland and Voll, who judged it to be the work of a close follower of Bouts, perhaps his elder son, Dieric Bouts the younger, who inherited his father's workshop c. 1475. Friedländer regarded the Munich triptych as definitely by the hand of Dieric Bouts the elder and considered the reattribution an ‘irresponsible folly’. Schöne revived the attribution of Heiland and Voll and assembled a number of works under the authorship of the Master of the Pearl of Brabant, whom he also tentatively identified as Dieric Bouts the younger. According to Schöne, the works of the Master are stylistically close to Dieric Bouts the elder's paintings, but he found a lack of compositional unity between figures and space, an over precious quality in the treatment of the small figures and an intensity in the local colours that he felt were habits of an intimate workshop assistant and not the Master himself. Among the paintings that Schöne grouped about the Munich triptych are Moses and the Burning Bush (Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.), Christ in the House of Simon (Munich, Alte Pin.) and the Virgin and Child Enthroned with SS Peter and Paul (London, N.G.). Davies considered the London painting an authentic work by Dieric Bouts the elder, and, for the most part, scholars have been reluctant to sever the Munich triptych from his oeuvre. A number of the paintings attributed to the Master by Schöne are considered works of lesser followers of Bouts the elder.

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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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