(b. ca. 1420, Amiens, d. 1489, Valenciennes)

Scenes from the Life of St Bertin

Panel, 56 x 147 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Simon Marmion of Amiens played a significant role in French painting in the mid-fifteenth century. The composition representing the life of St Bertin was formerly part of the altarpiece of the monastery of St Omer. In the left corner of the left shutter is the founder of the monastery, the Abbot Guillaume Fillastre, Bishop of Tours; beside him are scenes of the birth of the saint, his admission to the Benedictine Order, his arrival at Thérouane as a pilgrim and the dedication and building of a new monastery. Marmion was not unaffected by northern influences; his painting is an expression of the realism set in motion by the Van Eyck brothers as it reached a small town in Northern France. Its formal and balanced harmony and its serene atmosphere make it an important item in the mediaeval legacy to the variegated ensemble of French painting.