BOUTS, Dieric the Elder
(b. ca. 1415, Haarlem, d. 1475, Leuven)
Triptych of the Virginc. 1445
Oil on wood, 80 x 224 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid
The earliest works to have been attributed to Bouts are the three panels of the Triptych of the Virgin, in the Prado in Madrid, and various versions of the Virgin and Child. These paintings are very close in style to Rogier Van der Weyden, sometimes so close as to be virtually undistinguishable. The Prado panels set the main composition within a series of grisaille arches, which are embellished with episodes from the Old and New Testaments. The main scenes are executed in a manner that derives directly from Van der Weyden, down to the very details. Nevertheless, Bouts manages to demonstrate not only his mastery of a style, but also his own nascent originality.
The central panel of the triptych represents the Visitation and the Nativity, while the side wings depict the Annunciation (left) and the Adoration of the Magi, respectively.