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    Hans Memling: The Painter Who Marked the Transition from Gothic to Renaissance

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    The Dutch painter Memling was born in Germany but spent most of his life in Bruges, where he became the leading artist of his time. Hans Memling experienced a strong influence of Hugo van der Huss, but the versions of Memling, however, are devoid of the dramatic tension of the works of the senior master.

    Hans Memling marks the transition from Gothic to Renaissance with his work. He studied in a workshop in the Middle Rhine or in Cologne, and after that at Rogier van der Weyden in Brussels. Based on the experience of van der Weyden and Dirk Bouts, painter creates his own style. It’s expressed in rich color, gracefulness of figures, and also in detailed transfer of different staff. Memling composes for many times changed and added details in a calm, unified composition. In his later works, Hans Memling departs from the traditions of the early Renaissance.


    Key Ideas in painting.

    Arts made by Memling combine in his paintings the features of late Gothic and Renaissance art, lyrical interpretation of religious subjects, soft contemplation, harmonious composition is combined with the desire to idealize images, canonization of the techniques of Old-Dutch painting and portinari triptych.

    Memling doesn’t write more of his characters as anonymous figures in his famous paintings, he gives them individual, portrait traits. Of course, it’s impossible to determine whether all the figures have a portrait resemblance to real contemporaries, but the soul on the left side of the scales of the archangel is very similar to Tommaso Portinari, the partner of the customer. The altar, whose composition is modeled after Roger van der Weyden’s “The Last Judgment”, was commissioned by Angelo di Jacopo Thani (1415-1492), a sales representative in Bruges, for his native city of Florence. When the product was transported by sea, it was captured by pirates and fell into Gdansk.

    Arts made by Hans Memling.


    The painting “Hell” describes a closed spatial area, a separate place for the presence of demons, the afterlife and torture of the souls of unrepentant sinners. After the general resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment Hell will become the place of anguish of the devil, all wicked people, who are not awarded the paradise villages.




    The Annunciation

    “The Annunciation” is about the day, when Mary was 12, God announced that she would give birth to the Son of God. And after Mary was betrothed to Joseph, Archangel Gabriel appeared to her and foretold the virgin Mary, that she will blamelessly start from the Holy Ghost and will give birth the Son of God – Jesus Christ.



    The Last Judgment, triptych, left wing

    “The Last Judgment, triptych, left wing. The Blessed at the gate to heaven” is the work of art, in the center of which, there is the scene of the Last Judgment. God Almighty (Maiestas Domini) sits on the rainbow. Under his feet is the globe. Lily and sword are the symbols of purity and justice. Christ is surrounded by apostles, intercessors and supplicants – the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist, as well as angels. Below, there is the figure of Archangel Michael. He weighs the souls of the righteous and sinners. The devils drive the damned to hell, and the blessed ones enter paradise. Saint-Peter greets them on the glass stairs. A golden light comes out of the heavenly gates with an arch, richly decorated with images of music-making angels, and one of the angel holding dress. In the background, you can see a landscape executed in sufficient detail. This drawing can be called as triptych of earthly vanity and divine salvation.

    Portrait of Tommaso Portinari

    “Portrait of Tommaso Portinari” is one of the most famous drawings of the artist. On the heartfelt, subtly painted portrait, we can see a 21-year-old nephew and business partner Tommaso Portinari, a former representative of the Medici family in Bruges. The painted marble columns of the landscape point on the master’s position of young men. The portrait is the right half of the diptych, the opposite side represents his eponymous patron, to whom the young man draws his mental prayer.

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    Hans Memling: The Painter Who Marked the Transition from Gothic to Renaissance. (2018, Jul 30). Retrieved from

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