Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day

Title: The Infant Christ on the Orb of the World
Artist: Joos van Cleve
Medium: Oil on panel
Size: 37 x 26 cm
Date: ca. 1530
Location: Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Luke 2:14 Give glory to God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace and goodwill among people.

In this image the artist combined Italian and Flemish elements. The Child, depicted full-length in elegant contrapposto on a crystal sphere, holds a slim cross in one hand and blesses with the other. His body maintains a delicate balance on the sphere but his legs and feet are securely positioned. The image evokes the idea of the Passion of Christ and that of the Christ Child as Saviour of mankind. The antecedents for such a figure are to be found in Italian art, while the landscape in the sphere with its four wings is Flemish in origin. Italian influence is again evident in the slight sfumato of the figure, derived from Leonardo da Vinci.

Joos van Cleve (c. 1458 - 1541) was a Netherlandish painter, mentioned in various documents in Antwerp as Joos van der Beke, nicknamed Van Cleve. He is known mostly for his religious works and portraits of royalty. He trained with the painter Jan Joest, with whom he worked on the wings of the altarpiece in the church of San Nikolai in Kalkar. Van Cleve moved to Antwerp where he is recorded as a master in the painters’ guild in 1511. From the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, the name of Joos van Cleve as an artist was lost. The paintings now attributed to him were, at that time, known as the works of “the Master of the Death of the Virgin,” after the triptych currently in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. In 1894 it was discovered that the monogram on the back of the triptych was that of Joos van der Beke, an alias of Joos van Cleve. As a skilled technician, his art shows sensitivity to color and a unique solidarity of figures. His last paintings reveal a profound interest in the Italian Renaissance although there is no concrete evidence that he made a trip to Italy. 

No comments:

Post a Comment