MASTER of Moulins
(active 1480-1500)

The Moulins Triptych

Panel, 157 x 283 cm
Cathedral, Moulins

At the end of the fifteenth century the French court favoured the Flemish style. At that time the most important painter in France was the Master of Moulins, whose identity has still not been established. He was a court painter in the service of the king and the Duke of Bourbon, and he travelled between the capital and Burgundy. In spite of his Flemish training and the influence of Hugo van der Goes, his style is French; this is particularly evident in his use of ample forms of a clear-cut and elegant modelling and in his aristocratic quality.

The Master of Moulins represents the last percussions of the influence of Hugo van der Goes, and does so with exceptional vigour and grandeur. In the triptych in Moulins Cathedral the Virgin and Child are surrounded by a garland of angels lit from the radiance emanating from the glory against which they are seated, with the most magical effects of light. In the wings, Duke Pierre II of Bourbon, with a rueful countenance, faces his formidable wife, of whom he was said to have been the humble servant rather than the husband. The painter's gift for characterization is carried a stage beyond the normal by his habit of repeating the features of his sitters in the faces of their patron saints. His colour is of an astonishing brilliance; his forms of great elegance.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.