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Triptych of the life of the Virgin
Bouts, Dirk
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Bouts, Dirk

Haarlem (Netherlands), 1420 - Leuven (Belgium), 1475

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Triptych of the life of the Virgin

Ca. 1445. Oil on panel

This triptych presents four scenes: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Adoration of the Angels and the Adoration of the Magi. Painted around 1445, it is considered the earliest surviving work by Dirk Bouts. Stylistically, it resembles his later paintings except for the canon of its figures, which are much shorter here than in posterior works. Besides the interest Bouts shows in landscape from the very beginning, what merit mention in the Museo del Prado’s work are the figures’ oval faces -the Virgin’s, for example- which exemplify the simplification of volumes practiced by painters in the northern Netherlands. Dirk Bouts received other influences when he settled in the southern Netherlands. He must already have been in Louvain between 1444 and 1448, and he died there in 1475. The present work reflects his peculiar manner of depicting the world around him. His inexpressive figures seem to be standing still in meditative silence, imbued with a sense of absorption far removed from the emotive strength of Van der Weyden or the monumentality of Jan van Eyck, although he was familiar with the work of both and drew on it in the development of his personal style. Despite the fact that this triptych is an early piece, Bouts borrows certain compositional schemes from Van der Weyden, including the painted architecture that simulates a doorway with a sculptured archivolt of the sort depicted a few years earlier by the latter in his Miraflores Triptych (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin), or the composition of the Visitation derived from another Van der Weden at the Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig. In Bouts’s early years, Van Eyck was undoubtedly the basis for his pictorial language, although that influence was mitigated later in his career. In the Prado’s triptych, Bouts follows Eyck in differentiating materials such as hair and cloth -for example, in the Archangel Gabriel in The Annunciation. His use of light as a unifying factor is also drawn from Eyck, especially his manner of flooding the different scenes with a golden atmosphere, as is his vigorous modeling. Also worthy of mention is the attention he pays to the figures’ faces and hands, for example, in the first of the Magi who kneels before the Christ child in The Adoration. His face is filled with wrinkles and his hands have the same marked veins as Elizabeth’s in The Visitation. Despite the fact that this work by Bouts appears to be a polyptych with one panel for each of its four scenes, it actually has only three panels. The central one bears two scenes, each with the same dimensions as the lateral ones. These two central scenes, The Visitation and The Adoration of the Christ child by the Angels, are separated by a depiction of a pink marble column. Both these and the two on the lateral panels -The Annunciation on the left and The Adoration of the Magi on the right- have architectural frames that evoke the entrance to a portico. And, while the arches are semicircular, the porticoes are gothic, like the casings and other decorative elements from that style that allude to the new law that came into effect following the Archangel Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary. The archivolts bear depictions of passages from the Old and New Testaments -six in each scene- that reinforce that idea. Here, Bouts transforms the shallow porticoes used by Van der Weyden in his Miraflores Triptych into more developed ones. In the Prado’s work, the porticoes delimit the foreground in front of the protagonists, who are thus not framed by the architecture, but instead seen through it, as part of the space around it. This generates a sense of distance between the viewer and the painted figures (Text drawn from Silva, P.: 100 Obras Maestras de Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2008, p. 20).

Technical data

Inventory number
P001461
Author
Bouts, Dirk
Title
Triptych of the life of the Virgin
Date
Ca. 1445
Technique
Oil
Support
Panel
Dimension
Height: 81 cm.; Width: 202.6 cm.
Provenance
Royal Collection (Collection of Felipe II, Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo, El Escorial, Madrid, 1584-1839).

Bibliography +

Crowe, J. A(Joseph Archer), Les anciens peintres flamands: leur vie et leurs oeuvres, F. Heusner, Bruselas, 1862, pp. 118,119.

Waagen, Gustav Friedrich1794-1868, Manuel de L'Histoire de la Peinture: Ecoles Allemande, Flama, C. Muquardt [etc.], Paris, 1863, pp. 114.

Friedländer, Max J., Die altniederlandische malerei /, Paul Cassirer, Berlin, 1925, pp. 34-36/ lám.1-4.

Carpenter, William Hookham, Mémoires et documents inédits sur Antoine Van Dyck, P. P. Ru, imprimerie de J.-E. Buschmann, éditeurchez K. Fuhr, Paris.Bruselas, 1930, pp. lám.114.

Post, Chandler Rathfon, A history of Spanish painting, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1933, pp. 25,26.

Schöne, W., Dieric Bouts und seine, Berlín-Leipzig, 1938, pp. 75-78/ láms.1-5.

Noul, M., Sotomayor, F., Muguruza, P., Les chefs-d'oeuvre du Musée du Prado, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Ginebra, 1939, pp. 30.

Lozoya, Juan de Contreras y López de Ayala, Marqués de, Historia del arte hispánico, Salvat, Barcelona, 1940, pp. 275.

Rodríguez Barral, Pauilino, La tabla espinaria. Un motivo icoográfico de origen nórdico en el arte valenciano del siglo XV, Archivo español de arte y arqueología, 80, 1940, pp. 308.

Perera, Arturo, Notas al margen del Museo del PRado del Catálogo del Museo del Prado, ARTE ESPAÑOL / REVISTA ESPAÑOLA DE ARTE, 14, 1942, pp. 27.

Denis, Valentin, Thierry Bouts, Elsevier, Bruselas, 1957, pp. lám.1-4.

Tüngel, Richard, 400 Jahre Kunst, Kultur, und Geschichte im Prado, Schweizer Verlagshaus, Zurich, 1964, pp. 34/ lám.12.

Dohmann, Albrecht, Die Altniederlandische Malerei des Funfzehnten Jahrhunderts, E.A.Seemann BuchUnd Kunstverlag, Leipzig, 1964, pp. láms.135-138.

Friedländer, Max J., Early netherlandish painting, A.W.Sijthoff, Leyden-Bruselas, 1968, pp. 59/ láms.22,23.

Panofsky, Erwin1892-1968, Early netherlandish painting: its origins and character, Icon Editions, Nueva York, 1971, pp. láms.260,261.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Bermejo, Elisa, La pintura de los primitivos flamencos en España, C.S.I.C., Instituto Diego Velázquez, Madrid, 1980, pp. 23,24/ lám. 1-4.

Châtelet, Albert, Les primitifs hollandais: la peinture dans le Pays-Bas de No, Office du Livre, Friburgo, 1980, pp. 76/ láms.62-64.

Liebaers, H., L'Art Flamand des Origenes a Nos Jours, Albin Michel, Paris, 1985, pp. 119.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 83.

National Gallery of ArtEstados Unidos), Early Netherlandish painting, National Gallery of Art. Cambridge, Washington, 1986, pp. 45/ lám.3.

Koch, Robert, The Getty anunciation by Dieric Bouts, THE BURLINGTON MAGAZINE, 19, 1988, pp. 516/ lám.14.

Museo Nacional del Prado, La pintura flamenca en el Prado, IbercajaFonds Mercator, Amberes, 1989, pp. 38-40.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Panofsky, Erwin1892-1968, Les Primitifs Flamands, Hazan, Paris, 1992, pp. 566.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Barcelona, 1994, pp. 369.

Les primitifs flamands et leur temps, La Renaissance du Livre, Belgique, 1994, pp. 396,397.

Pächt, Otto, Early Netherlandish Painting From Rogier Van Der Weyden To G, Harvey Miller Publishers, London, 1997, pp. 110.

Smeyers, Maurits, Dirk Bouts : peintre du silence, La Renaissance du Livre, 1998, pp. 80.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura flamenca de los siglos XV y XVI: guía, Museo del Prado, Aldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 38.

Martín García, Juan Manuel, El ciclo de la Navidad en las pinturas del monasterio de El Escorial, Cuadernos de Arte de la Universidad de Granada, 34, 2003, pp. 58/ lám.5.

Périer-d'Ieteren, Catheline, Thierry Bouts L' oeuvre complet, Fonds Mercator, 2005, pp. 301.

Enciclopedia del Museo del Prado, VI, T.F. Editores: Fundación Amigos, Madrid, 2006, pp. 2111.

Jan Van Eyck : grisallas, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2009, pp. 85-102.

Kemperdick, Stephan, Albert van Ouwater: The Raising of Lazarus, Oud Holland, 123, 2010, pp. 247-248 [235-250].

García-Frías Checa, Carmen, 'De la grandeza y variedad de la pintura que hay en esta casa' La colección pictórica de Felipe II en El Monasterio de El Escorialo, De El Bosco a Tiziano: arte y maravilla en El Escorial, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 2013, pp. 35-51 [40].

Pérez Preciado, José Juan, ''Restituir la paternidad de algunas tablas muy bellas''. Sobre las atribuciones históricas de la pintura neerlandesa antigua en el Museo del Prado (1819-1912)., Boletín del Museo del Prado., XXXII, 2014, pp. 8, 10, 12, 18, 22.

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 454.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 454.
Escuela alemana o Flamenca del Siglo 15 (estilo de Rogel de Brujas ó de Vanderneiren) / 454. Ex-voto con sus dos puertas. / Dividido en cuatro compartimentos que representan la Anunciación, la Visitación, el Nacimiento, y la Adoración de los Magos. Las puertas de este oratorio estaban en el Escorial separadas del centro en diversas piezas (E.) (Tabla.) / Alto 2 pies, 10 pulg, 6 lin; Ancho 3 pies, 10 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1873-1907. Núm. 1291.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 1461.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 1461.

Exhibitions +

Patinir
Madrid
03.07.2007 - 07.10.2007

Location +

Room 058A (On Display)

Expuesto

Displayed objects +

Window glazed with polygonal panes of flat glass: Ventana acristalada con piezas de vidrio plano de forma romboidal, unidas mediante emplomado; en la escena de la Anunciación; cerrando el vano de un marco con parteluz y tracerías góticas. Por sus características de forma y transparencia, se trata de vidrio fabricado por el procedimiento de soplado en cilindros o manchones. Anacronismo, respecto del tema representado en la obra. Las sencillas vidrieras geométricas de este tipo se empezaron a emplear en las primeras décadas del siglo XV. En su producción destacaron los países del norte y especialmente Flandes (Fernández Navarro, J. M.; Capel del Águila, F.: El vidrio en la pintura del Museo Nacional del Prado, 2012).

Update date: 07-06-2018 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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