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De Meester van de Magdalena-legende en de diptiek van Willem van Bibaut

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image of Oud Holland - Journal for Art of the Low Countries

Within the range of works attributed to the Master of the Magdalen Legend are a number of Madonnas generally considered to date back to the last decade of the 15th century. All of these pictures are comparatively small and show a rather chubby type of Madonna with the Child slightly out of proportion. The golden backgrounds are punctuated. All these pictures are by the same hand, and are considered to date from the earliest period of the artist's activity. One of these paintings, now in the Mayer-Van den Bergh Museum in Antwerp, shows the Madonna holding the Child at her left breast. There is a second version of this painting on the left-hand panel of a diptych formerly in the Wetzlar collection in Amsterdam. The right-hand panel bears the portrait of a Carthusian monk, and is inscribed Guilelmus bibaucis primas tot [ius] Ordinis Carthusiemum. 1523.. The sitter has been identified as Willem of Bibaut (1484 1535), who became abbot of the Grand Chartreuse monastery in Grenoble in 1521. The portrait was probably painted to commemorate that event. Given that the stylistically very different paintings belonging to the Magdalen altarpiece which gave the artist his name date from the same period, the Madonnas can no longer be regarded as early paintings by the Master of the Magdalen Legend. Apparently they are the work of another artist.


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