Christ Giving His Blessing
1478
Hans Memling (Netherlandish, c.1430/40-1494)
On View

Hans Memling was the leading painter in Bruges during the last quarter of the fifteenth century. His Christ Giving His Blessing recalls an iconographic type found in early Christian and Byzantine sacred icons, but echoes the later compositional types of Rogier van der Weyden, in whose workshop Memling presumably worked before settling in Bruges. Unlike the work of his predecessors, however, Memling's portrait of Christ is neither severe nor characterized by tragic pathos. In form and feeling, it presages Italian portraiture from the following decade: the search for clarity and order, the monumental effect achieved by filling the frame with Christ's head and shoulders, and the close-up view of the delicately modeled face against a neutral background. The gentle spirit and grace of the Redeemer, presented in fully human terms in this compelling devotional image, marks Memling’s debt to Rogier, but also his status as someone who transformed religious and portrait imagery throughout Europe from that point forward.

Details

  • Artist Name: Hans Memling (Netherlandish, c.1430/40-1494)
  • Title: Christ Giving His Blessing
  • Date: 1478
  • Medium: Oil on oak panel
  • Dimensions: comp: 14-3/8 x 10-1/2 in. (36.5 x 26.7 cm); panel: 15-1/8 x 11-1/8 in. (38.4 x 28.3 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon
  • Accession Number: M.1974.17.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

Don Manuel I, King of Portugal, Palacio das Necessidades, Lisbon, sold 1910 to;
[Duveen Brothers, London and New York, sold 1927 to];
Dr. and Mrs. A. Hamilton Rice, New York, sold 1957 to;
[M. Knoedler & Co., New York, jointly owned with Pinakos, Ltd., New York, stock no. A6680, as The Blessing Christ; sold 5 April 1964 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

Exhibition of Flemish and Belgian Art, 1300-1900

  • London, Royal Academy, 1927-01-08 to 1927-03
Anonymous, Art News, p. 4
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Van Miegroet, Max, Gerard David, n. 97, fig. 116 pp. 133, 141
Lane, B. G., Hans Memling, Werkverzeichnis. Die grossen Meister der Malerei, p. 38
Lambotte, Paul, et al., Exhibition of Flemish and Belgian Art, 1300-1900, no. 62 p. 31
Detroit Institute of Arts, Flanders in the Fifteenth Century: Art and Civilization, no. 34 p. 154
Vaughan, Malcolm, International Studio, p. 40
Snow-Smith, Joanne, The Salvator Mundi of Leonardo da Vinci, fig. 76 p. 75
Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, cat. 210 p. 271
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Padovani, S., et al., L'Età di Savonarola: Fra' Bartolomeo e la scuola di San Marco, p. 171
Groeningemuseum, Bruges, Le siècle des primitifs flamands, no. 37 pp. 150, 102
Morse, John D., Old Master Paintings in North America, p. 197
Leidtke, Walter A.; and Guy C. Bauman, Flemish Paintings in America, A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America, fig. 354 p. 354
Sperling, Harry, Loan Exhibition of Flemish Primitives, no. 23 pp. 80-81
Vaughn, M., The Connoisseur, p. 295
Carlo Ginzburg, History Workshop Journal, fig. 12 p. 10-11
Revised and Enlarged Complete Catalogue of the Paintings and Sculptures - Masterpieces of Art. The Official Souvenir Guide and Picture Book, New York World's Fair, 1939, no. 252, pl. 39 p. 10
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Campbell, Lorne, The Burlington Magazine, p. 265
Anonymous, Art News, p. 5
Longhi, Roberto, Scritti giovanili, p. 80
Kennedy, Trinita and Joan Nolan, A Divine Light: Northern Renaissance Paintings from Bob Jones University, Fig. 52 p. 116
Dunkerton, Jill, Renaissance Venice and the North: Crosscurrents in the Time of Bellini, Durer and Titian, p. 98
Faggin, Giorgio T.; and Maria Corti, L'Opera completa di Memling, no. 5
Longhi, Roberto, L'Arte, p. 212
Sutton, Peter C., The William Appleton Coolidge Collection, fig. 1 pp. 27-28
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