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April 20 , 2008

Hans Memling


Hans Memling was one of the greatest artists working in northern Europe in the late medieval period. He made his home and his name in the city of Bruges, Belgium, where he lived and worked for almost 30 years. Often described as a Flemish Primitive, he almost singlehandedly transformed Bruges into the most prestigious location for northern European artists and craftsmen working at that time. Memling developed what became known as the Bruges Style, celebrated for its quiet perfection, refinement, and sophisticated compositions. Although filled with people, his works are largely static, always meticulously arranged narrative compositions presented in unvarying light. Symmetry plays an important part in his paintings, which glow with color and are distinguished from earlier medieval works by their lack of gold leaf and silver paint. The Madonna became something of a specialty for Memling and he always presents her as a serenely idealized figure completely untroubled by reality or events around her. As well as his main devotional subjects and portraits of the rich, Memling painted the Virgin and child time and again and remarkably about 15 different individual paintings survive.
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