ORLEY, Bernaert van
(b. 1491/92, Bruxelles, d. 1542, Bruxelles)

Haneton Triptych (wings)

Oil on oak, 87 x 48 cm (each)
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels

Ancient literary sources tell us that the work was commissioned from Van Orley by Philippe Haneton around 1520, to be placed above the family tomb in the church of St Gudule in Brussels. The donor held high political office, having been appointed first secretary of the Grand Council by Charles V in 1518, and tasked with judging petitions for audiences with the emperor. He was also the treasurer of the Order of the Golden Fleece. He is shown on the left wing, surrounded by his seven sons. Behind him is the silhouette of his patron saint, the apostle Philip, recognisable by the attribute of his martyrdom, the cross on which he is supposed to have been crucified head-down.

The donor's wife, Marguerite Numan, accompanied by her five daughters, is shown on the right wing, under the protection of Margaret of Antioch. This saint's attributes remind the viewer that she rebuffed the temptation of Satan, who had appeared in the form of a dragon, by brandishing the cross.