DARET, Jacques
(b. ca. 1404, Tournai, d. 1470)

Adoration of the Child

Oil on panel, 60 x 53 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Jacques Daret was a pupil of Robert Campin (the Master of Flémalle) and is documented as his apprentice from 1427 to 1432. In around 1435 he was working in the Abbey of San Vaast, near Arras, on an altarpiece of the Nativity cycle, of which this present panel was a part.

The similarity between this painting and a Nativity by the Master of Flémalle makes it seem likely that Daret based his work on the earlier painting. The two paintings use very similar compositions, of a type which would later become widespread in Flemish painting. The main scene with the manger and the figures takes place in the foreground, while on the right is an open space with a landscape which extends into the background. While Daret's painting simplifies the composition by using fewer figures, making the narrative easier to comprehend, it includes the two midwives (Zelomi and Salome), the figure of Joseph holding a cloth, and the small angels flying over the stable - all of which appear in both versions.