MEMLING, Hans
(b. ca. 1440, Seligenstadt, d. 1494, Bruges)

Triptych of Jan Floreins (central panel)

1479
Oil on oak panel, 46,3 x 57,4 cm (inside frame)
Memlingmuseum, Sint-Janshospitaal, Bruges

The donor kneels on the far left behind a low wall. The stereometric planning and consistency with which Memling sets down his architectural features is characteristic. The stable of the Magi scene is shown from the rear in the left wing of the Floreins triptych. Every element tallies: the pilasters, the corbels, the beams, the little transverse roof and the hole in the thatching. The perspective of the left wing has two vanishing points with a viewpoint shifted to the right. That of the central panel is frontal, with a viewpoint moved slightly to the left, as is the case in the Columba altarpiece. Despite this, Memling placed the Virgin in the middle, directly in front of a column.

The myth of the sick Memling who portrayed himself wearing a patient's bonnet and peering through the window on the right of the central panel arose during the eighteenth century.

As in the St John altarpiece, the name of the artist and the date are included in an inscription in classical Roman capitals on the original frame. Memling used this classical typography - no different from that of Bellini or Mantegna - in several of his works. It is a very early, if not the earliest, example of humanist script in the Low Countries.




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