Yesterday was a great day for all lovers of Northern Renaissance art who had a chance to attend a lecture given by Professor Susie Nash at the Frick Museum, sharing her research on Claus Sluter, the legendary Well of Moses and the Tomb of the Philip the Bold. The monuments were executed by Sluter and his workshop in 1395–1403 for the Carthusian monastery of Chartreuse de Champmol built as a burial site by the Burgundian Duke Philip the Bold just outside the Burgundian capital of Dijon, now in France:
Claus Sluter is considered to be the equivalent of Van Eyck in the world of sculpture in that he was amongst the first to use emotive realism in the Northern Renaissance sculpture, while Memling, Van Eyck and van der Weyden championed the style in the art of painting.
The lecture provided a wealth of new detail on both works, from how light grey marble is transformed to deep black marble (used for the tomb) by meticulous manual polishing to how these monuments were perceived by Carthusian monks who were inmates of the monastery at the time and Philip the Bold’s ambition to assert his dynastic claims through iconic monumental work. Whilst many of you will be familiar with the Well of Moses as this monument is featured in most Northern Renaissance books and magazines, the Tomb of Philip the Bold was a real discovery for us yesterday, and the 41 pleurants (the white marble mourner statues) that are featured in the bottom half of the tomb are truly exceptional:
The lecture accompanied a small new exhibition at the Frick, the Charterhouse of Bruges, that features exceptional works by Van Eyck and Petrus Christus commissioned by the Carthusian monk and prior Jan Vos. The beautiful panel by Petrus Christus is on loan from the Gamaeldegalerie, Berlin, and it is a rare chance to see it in the States. The Wall Street Magazine published an interesting review of the exhibition available HERE.
Professor Nash is teaching Renaissance Art at the Coulthard Institute of Art, London, UK, and is one of the leading researchers specializing in Northern Renaissance art, and it was an honor to meet her:
It was a great lecture that re-ignited my interest in the Northern European art of 14C-16C, and a lovely finish to this year, during which I completed a course on Northern Renaissance at the University of Oxford, took part in a professional painting trip to Ireland with Andrew Lattimore, redesigned my website, and found a new creative direction in making two alpaca llama portraits.
It was an exceptional year, professionally and privately as my daughter Nathalie gave me my first grandson, Alessandro, in July, and my daughter Anna completed her PhD in March, and I am now looking forward to a lovely Christmas, a great New Year’s party, and our trip to Japan with our dear friends Ernst and Angelika in January.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year!