Book Series Me Fecit, vol. 10

Workshop Practice in Early Netherlandish Painting: Case Studies from Van Eyck through Gossart

Maryan-W. Ainsworth (ed)

  • Pages: 136 p.
  • Size:220 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:112 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2017

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56668-9
  • Hardback
  • Available

This volume presents essays on recent revelations about the workshop practices of notable Early Netherlandish painters including Van Eyck, Bouts, David, and Gossart, through the technical examination of selected key works.



“Workshop Practice in Early Netherlandish Painting both introduces innovative techniques and also demonstrates how technical art history builds substantive arguments through a full range of technical and art historical evidence. (...) an essential resource for its intended audience of both specialists and students serious about technical art history and its myriad applications for Netherlandish art.” (Anna-Claire Stinebring, in Historians of Netherlandish Art Reviews, March 2018)



Maryan W. Ainsworth is Curator of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she specializes in Early Netherlandish, French, and German paintings. She has published and lectured widely, especially on the technical examination of paintings and the working methods of artists.  She is the author or co-author of award-winning publications and exhibitions including Petrus Christus, Renaissance Master of Bruges (1994); From Van Eyck to Bruegel, Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1998); Gerard David, Purity of Vision in an Age of Transition (1998); Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart’s Renaissance (2010); German Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1350—1600 (2013);  and most recently, Grand Design, Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry (2014).  For her contributions to the art and culture of Belgium, she has been awarded the titles of Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Couronne (2001) and Chevalier de l’Ordre de Léopold (2011), bestowed by King Albert II of Belgium.



Recent technical examinations of Early Netherlandish art have propelled in-depth studies of key works far beyond traditional connoisseurship methods.  Ingenious new applications, as well as a prodigious amount of comparative technical documentation, have changed our views of standard workshop practices, including issues of materials and techniques, and details about the precise nature of collaboration. The studies presented in this book illustrate the variety of approaches and findings in what can be called the new connoisseurship. Here the reader will find alternative methods of evaluating Jan van Eyck’s Saint Barbara and Ghent Altarpiece, Dirk Bouts’s canvas paintings, Jacb Cornelisz van Oostsanen’s Berlin Sketchbook, the Evora Altarpiece and the Saint Anne Altarpiece from Gerard David’s workshop, Jan Gossart’s Malvagna Triptych, and a triptych by Pieter I Claeissens. These individual studies will be of interest not only to aficionados of Early Netherlandish painting, but also to students who are keen to learn about the pivotal role of technical studies for this period of art history.



Maryan W. Ainsworth, Introduction

Part 1: Recent Revelations About Notable Works

Marie Postec and Jana Sanyova
Was Metalpoint Used for Jan Van Eyck's Saint Barbara?
A new hypothesis based on its re-examination

Maximiliaan P.J. Martens, Ljiljana Platiša, Bruno Cornelis, Tijana Ružić, Marc De Mey, Ann Dooms, Aleksandra Pižurica, and Ingrid Daubechiese
Image Processing for Research on the Ghent Altarpiece

Don H. Johnson, Catherine Metzger, and Diane Wolfthal
Weave Match and its Implications: The Case of Dirk Bouts’s Canvas Paintings

Ilona van Tuinen
Reconstructing the So-Called “Berlin Sketchbook:” Clues from Material Analysis

Part 2: Workshop Collaborations

Catherine Metzger
The Saint Anne Altarpiece by Gerard David and his Workshop

Paolo Pastorello
The Malvagna Triptych – The Technical Investigation of a Masterpiece

Maryan W. Ainsworth
The Malvagna Triptych and Prestige Collaboration, Afterthoughts

Anne van Oosterwijk
The Adjustment of a Triptych by Pieter I Claeissens: an Exceptional Situation or Common Practice?