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John White Alexander, N.A. : Pieta
John White Alexander, N.A. (Pieta)

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Artist: John White Alexander, N.A.
Title: Pieta
Year: c. 1540
Media: Oil on canvas laid down on panel, 34 1/2 x 27 1/2 inches
Description: Regarded as the founder of the Antwerp School of Flemish painting, Quinten Massys (sometimes spelled Metsys or Matsys) was born in Leuven, the son of a clockmaker and architect. He was originally was trained as an ironsmith but took up painting and, influenced by the local artist Dirk Bouts, was attracted to the styles of Hans Memling and especially Rogier van der Weyden. Massys had settled in Antwerp by 1491, when he became a member of the city’s Guild of Saint Luke. Throughout his career Massys produced altarpieces and devotional subjects for local churches and was active as a portraitist.

This powerful and impressive Pietá is a close copy of a lost original that Massys painted during the first quarter of the sixteenth century. The most closely related version of the subject is the half-length Pietá in the Musées Royaux in Brussels that may have been painted during the artist’s lifetime. Other strong points of comparison are in the Koninklijk Museum in Antwerp, and the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, which were both probably painted after Massys’s death. Massys Pietá compositions are historically significant in that they derive from some common earlier source by van der Weyden. This Pietá bears the hallmarks of Massys’s mature oeuvre in that it reflects the Italian influences of Leonardo da Vinci and Mannerism, while its feeling of intense religious piety is characteristic of the Netherlandish tradition.

The painting is accompanied by a letter of authentication from Dr. Larry Silver, the James and Nan Wagner Farquhar Professor in the History of Art, University of Pennsylvania, author of The Paintings of Quinten Massys with Catalogue Raisonné (Montclair, NJ, 1984).  The frame is a reproduction of the original type used on Massys’s famous Lamentation Altarpiece (1508-11, Musee Royal des Beaux-Arts, Antwerp).

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Price: This item is no longer available for sale
Inventory: RS 6549
  
Category: •a:Dutch•a:European•male•religion•sixteenth century•
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