Book Series Catalogue of Early Netherlandish Painting: Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, vol. 4

The Flemish Primitives IV

Masters with Provisional Names

Pascale d'Olne, Anne Dubois, Roel Slachmuylders, Bart Fransen, Famke Peters

  • Pages: 458 p.
  • Size:210 x 297 mm
  • Illustrations:316 b/w, 195 col.
  • Language(s):English, English
  • Publication Year:2006

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-51743-8
  • Hardback
  • Available


The fourth volume examines all the works attributed to masters with provisional names from the 1470s to the first half of the 16th century (Master of the Joseph Sequence, Master of the Magdalen Legend, Master of the Orsoy Altarpiece, Master of the Saint Barbara Legend, Master of the Saint Catherine Legend, Master of the Saint Lucy Legend, Master of the Saint Ursula Legend, Master of the View of Saint-Gudule, Master of 1473). It was towards 1900 that anonymous works were first grouped, on the basis of stylistic affinities, around certain paintings presenting particular characteristics. Each group is attributed to an anonymous master named after the painting (the eponymous work) which forms the basis for this group. These ensembles serve to give direction to the work of art historians, in the hope of identifying these anonymous painters at a later date. Some of these groups, to which new works have been added over past decades, appear fairly heterogeneous, and merit critical reexamination in the light of modern analysis methods.

Like the three previous volumes, it is published in English and abundantly illustrated with colour photographs of the investigated paintings, detail photographs and comparative material. Each of the nineteen paintings has been submitted to exhaustive and detailed examination following a scientific research method which has been fully established over the years. This includes, on the one hand, examination of the supports and the original frames, dendrochronological analysis, infrared reflectography, stereomicroscopic observation, radiographic analysis, ultraviolet fluorescence imaging and, where possible, examination of paint samples and, on the other hand, historical, iconographic and stylistic analysis, dating, attribution and bibliography. Information is drawn from documents in the museum’s archives and supplemented with material held at the Royal Institute for the Study and Conservation of Belgium’s Artistic Heritage (IRPA/KIK) and the Centre for the Study of Fifteenth-Century Painting in the Southern Netherlands and the Principality of Liège.

Each group of paintings attributed to a master with a provisional name is introduced with a short status quaestionis evoking the origins of the grouping and the principal publications relating to it. In their notices on the individual paintings, the authors have based their research on comparing them as closely as possible with the works around which each ensemble is grouped. Certain paintings in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium are themselves eponymous works. In these cases the authors have made every effort to document these reference works as thoroughly as possible.