BERMEJO, Bartolomé
(b. ca. 1440, Cordova, d. ca. 1500, Barcelona)

Christ Leading the Patriarchs to the Paradise

c. 1480
Tempera on wood
Institute of Hispanic Art, Barcelona

One of the leading Spanish artists of the last third of the fifteenth century was Bartolomé Bermejo. The signature "Bartolomeus Vermeio Cordubensis" on the Pietà in Barcelona cathedral, one of his later works, completed in 1490, indicates that he was born in Cordova. At the same time, there is nothing in the Andalusian art of that period to explain the origin of his style or the source of his technique. We believe that Bermejo must have studied in Flanders, perhaps in direct contact with Dirk Bouts (1420-75), with whom he has certain stylistic affinities. In spite of this Flemish training, Bermejo's work leaves us in no doubt concerning his Spanish origin. Robust, virile, and dramatic, it is characterized by a profound gravity, the counterpart of the lyrical refinement so typical of the Spanish genius.