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WINGS AND LINKS : Interdisciplinary Research on Sculpted Altarpieces and Painted Wings

Research project BR/154/PI/WINGS AND LINKS (Research action BR)


Persons :

  • Mevr.  HENDERIKS Valentine - Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 15/12/2015-15/3/2018
  • Mme  VAN EYCK Elisabeth - Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 15/12/2015-15/3/2018
  • Dr.  FRANSEN Bart - Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 15/12/2015-15/3/2018
  • Mme  MERCIER Emmanuelle - Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 15/12/2015-15/3/2018
  • Mevr.  CURRIE Christina - Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 15/12/2015-15/3/2018
  • Mevr.  DEBULPAEP Marjolijn - Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 15/12/2015-15/3/2018
  • M.  KAIRIS Pierre-Yves - Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 15/12/2015-15/3/2018

Description :

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Wings & Links pioneer project conducted by the Centre for the Study of the Flemish Primitives of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA) is dedicated to the complementary study of late medieval composite altarpieces. Within this large framework, research focusses on a group of ensembles with sculptures erroneously attributed to Robert Moreau, a Paris sculptor active in Antwerp between 1532 and 1540, and with paintings given to the surroundings of Pieter Coecke van Aelst. The objective is to develop issues that are specific to the city of Antwerp, where the work organisation between the different crafts differed from other centres of production. The study thoroughly examines this whole corpus, amongst which the altarpieces of Oplinter and Herbais-sous-Piétrain (Brussels, RMAH, inv. 3196 and 4009), Opitter (St Trudo’s church), Baume-les-Messieurs (St Peter’s church), Enghien (St Nicholas’ church), Pont-à-Mousson (St Lawrence’s church), Wattignies (St Lambert’s church), Philadelphia (Philadelphia Museum of Art, inv. 1945-25-117,a-s) and Roubaix (St Martin’s church), and to a lesser extent the altarpieces of Schoonbroek (St Job’s church), Turin (Museo civico d’Arte antica, Palazzo Madama, inv. 1776/L), Oxburgh Hall (castle), Ringsaker (parish church) and Telde (St John the Baptist’s church).

This project considers the altarpieces as complementary ensembles or Gesamtkunstwerke, an approach that leads to a better understanding of the genesis of the altarpieces and allows to refine their attribution and put their artistic creation into context. This research of late medieval composite Antwerp altarpieces combines material-technical, iconographic and style study.

Several essential themes have already been raised: the organisation and work division in the studio, the collaboration between joiner, sculptor and painter and/or polychromist, the notion of the production of standardised or stereotypical works, style-comparative study of painted and sculpted elements and the notion of ‘artist-entrepreneur’… While the selected corpus of altarpieces is similar with regards to their altar case, composition and iconography, the style of the paintings and sculptures however points towards different masters or workshops working in the same manner. This allows to reassess the phenomenon of standardisation in the sense of workshops that used the same models.

For this project an approach was adopted that mainly focusses on art history, but is complemented with diverse scientific imaging documents (macro photography, infrared reflectography and X-radiography). All departments of the KIK-IRPA contribute: the polychrome wood sculpture (E. Mercier) and painting studios (L. Depuydt), the preventive conservation unit (M. Debulpaep), as well as the imagery unit (C. Currie). Documentation from study and restoration files of the KIK-IRPA serves as a starting point and is complemented with new information gathered on missions in situ.

The results of this project will be presented in a book, article or conference communication. The modalities to valorise the study shall be defined according to the final conclusions. The resulting inventory of altarpieces will moreover be accessible through the KIK-IRPA’s online database portal (http://balat.kikirpa.be/tools.php?lang=en-GB).


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