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

St Dominic Enthroned in Glory

Oil on panel, 242 x 130 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Bartolomé de Cárdenas, known as Bermejo, was a master of detail. In the background of his picture of the Resurrection, now in Barcelona, he depicted in an area of scarcely more than a few square centimetres, a beautiful landscape in which the representation of rocks and foliage is as delicate as anything by Dürer. But though the effect of light is depicted most exquisitely, there is very little plasticity in the representation of the face of the learned abbot which, in fact, almost merges into the radiance of the golden background. Of paramount importance to Bermejo was the representation of every detail of the embroidered cope, the splendid mitre, the amazingly intricate Gothic carving on the throne (itself almost an architectural feat) and every vein of the marble floor. The total effect of splendour makes the painting seem like a lavishly gilt chalice or a prelate's vestment that have taken several years to embroider rather than an example of the art of painting.