Memlinc, Hans

(c. 1440-1494)
   Hans Memlinc was Rogier van der Weyden's most faithful follower. A native of the town of Seligenstadt on the Main, Germany, he moved to Bruges, Flanders, sometime around 1465. By the following year, he was a member of the Bruges Guild of Painters and, by 1480, he was among the city's wealthiest citizens who were required to pay an added tax to support the war against France. Though stylistically his art emulates that of van der Weyden, Memlinc lacks the passion and drama of the older master. Instead, his works are serene and graceful, with an emphasis on order and balance. Among his early works, the Donne Triptych (1468-1469; London, National Gallery) stands out. Created for Sir John Donne of Kidwelly, a Welshman who lived in Calais and who was probably in Bruges for the celebration of Charles the Bold's marriage to Margaret of York, the work shows the enthroned Virgin and Child flanked by angels and Sts. Catherine and Barbara, with the donor, his wife, and children kneeling at their feet. On the wings are Sts. John the Evangelist and John the Baptist, Donne's namesaints. The slender, delicate figures pose emotionless in a tight composition that connects the three panels through the extension of the central space into the altarpiece's side wings. Memlinc'sMartyrdom of St. Sebastian (c. 1470; Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts), rendered soon after the Donne Triptych, afforded the opportunity to experiment with the human nude form. The saint is presented as a slender, youthful figure who remains calm in the face of adversity. His delicate, graceful features provide a marked contrast to the brutish Roman archers who prepare their bows to effect the saint's martyrdom. Memlinc's Passion Panel (c. 1470; Turin, Galleria Sabauda) also belongs to this period, the patron Tommaso Portinari, the Medici bank's representative in Bruges who also patronized Hugo van der Goes and who appears in the work in the foreground along with his wife. Here Memlinc cleverly resolved the problem of unifying multiple scenes on one pictorial surface by inserting them into the various buildings he enclosed within the walls of Jerusalem. Memlinc would again include multiple scenes in the Life of the Virgin and Christ Panel (1480; Munich, Alte Pinakothek), utilizing architecture and mountainous forms to organize and separate each event from the rest. Painted for Pieter Bultinc, a member of the tanners' guild, this work, and the one for Portinari, anticipate the landscapes by Joachim Patinir.
   For Angelo di Jacopo Tani, another representative of the Medici bank in Bruges, Memlinc created the Last Judgment Triptych (1473; Danzig, Muzeum Pomorskie), a work seized by pirates on its way to Florence and placed in the Church of St. Mary in Danzig. In its closed state, the altarpiece shows Jacopo and his wife Caterina kneeling in front of grisaille figures of the Virgin, Child, and St. Michael. When opened, the viewer is surprised by the unexpected burst of color and action, particularly given the serenity and pale colors of the exterior. In the interior's center is Christ as judge, below him St. Michael weighing the souls, and at the sides the blessed entering heaven and the damned cast into hell. Here again, Memlinc worked with the nude form, now in action. Memlinc once again tackled the nude in his Bathsheba (1484; Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie), an episode from the biblical story of David. She, a soft, delicate woman of the Northern type (small breasts, rounded belly) steps out of her bath, her servant wrapping her in a towel that does little to cover her nudity. In the left background is the roof from which David saw Bathsheba in the nude. The reliefs on the church portals, also in the background, relate the death of Bathsheba's husband, Uriah, sent to battle by David so he could rid himself of his contender.
   Other works by Memlinc that deserve mention are the Chasse of St. Ursula (1489; Bruges, Hospital of St. John), a reliquary casket constructed to look like a miniature Gothic church and decorated with scenes from Ursula's life based on Jacobus da Voragine's Golden Legend, as well as his portrait Man with a Medal (c. 1475-1480; Antwerp, Musée Royal des Beaux-Arts), one of the many portraits by Memlinc to have survived. His sitter in this example is shown in bust length, set against a landscape, and holding a coin with Emperor Nero's profile. His identification as either Niccoló Spinelli or Giovanni di Candida, two Italian medalists, have been proposed, though neither is certain.
   Memlinc held his position as the most important master of Bruges until his death in 1494, when he was succeeded by Gerard David. His influence carried through other regions. Italians, among them Pietro Perugino, were exposed to his art via the merchants who worked in Bruges and then shipped his paintings to their native cities. Memlinc's Last Judgment, which ended up in Danzig, was emulated by local masters. Finally, contacts between Spain and Flanders brought Memlinc's delicate, graceful style to the attention of Bartolomé Bermejo and other Hispano-Flemish masters.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Memlinc — Memling ou Memlinc (Hans) (v. 1433 1494) peintre flamand originaire de Rhénanie, qui travailla à Bruges, où il mourut. Influencé par Van Eyck et Van der Weyden, il a laissé de nombr. compositions religieuses, des scènes de genre et des portraits …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Hans Memling —     Hans Memling     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Hans Memling     Flemish painter, b. about 1430 35; d. at Bruges 11 August, 1494. This date was discovered in 1889 by Père Henri Dusart in a MS. chronicle of the library of St. Omer, which adds that… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Hans — /hanz/; Ger. /hahns/, n. a male given name, Germanic form of John. * * * (as used in expressions) Andersen Hans Christian Hans Arp Baldung Hans Hans Baldung Grien Bethe Hans Albrecht Buchner Hans Bülow Hans Guido baron von Gadamer Hans Georg… …   Universalium

  • Hans — (as used in expressions) Andersen, Hans Christian Hans Arp Baldung, Hans Hans Baldung Grien Bethe, Hans (Albrecht) Buchner, Hans Bülow, Hans (Guido), barón von Gadamer, Hans Georg Hassler, Hans Leo Henze, Hans Werner Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hans Memling — Virgin with Child between St. James and St. Dominic (1488 1490). This painting features Oriental carpets …   Wikipedia

  • Hans Memling — Selbstbildnis auf dem Donne Altar in der National Gallery, London Denkmal für Hans Memling an der Kunsthalle Hamburg …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hans Memling — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Memling. Autoportrait du retable de John Donne de Kidwelly (vers 1480) (National Gallery, Londres) Hans Memling est un peintre allemand, puis …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Memling, Hans — or Hans Memlinc born с 1430/35, Seligenstadt, near Frankfurt am Main died Aug. 11, 1494, Bruges Flemish painter. He settled in Bruges in 1465 and established a large workshop that became very successful and made him one of the city s wealthiest… …   Universalium

  • Memling, Hans — ► (1433 94) Pintor flamenco. Desarrolló toda su actividad artística en la ciudad de Brujas. Su prestigio fue tal que pronto figuró entre los 140 hombres más ricos de esta ciudad. Su arte es principalmente religioso. Destacan entre sus obras: La… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Memling — ou Memlinc (Hans) (v. 1433 1494) peintre flamand originaire de Rhénanie, qui travailla à Bruges, où il mourut. Influencé par Van Eyck et Van der Weyden, il a laissé de nombr. compositions religieuses, des scènes de genre et des portraits …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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