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Scientific Study of Late 14th Century to Early 16th Century Anonymous Paintings of the Southern Low Countries preserved at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Research project MO/40/008 (Research action MO)


Persons :

  • Dr.  BUCKEN Véronique - Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/1/2005-31/12/2006

Description :

The purpose of this project is to study the late 14th century to early 16th century anonymous paintings of the southern Low Countries preserved at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. The anonymous paintings include works attributed to masters with provisional names and others which it has not been possible to attribute to any painter.

The intention is, during the two years of this contract, to publish the results of the study of the masters with provisional names in Volume IV of the scientific catalogue dedicated to the Flemish Primitives: “The Flemish Primitives. Catalogue of Early Netherlandish Painting in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium”, which contains a corpus of twenty works.

The corpus of fifteen anonymous works will be studied using the same methods as those used previously, each painting being subjected to an exhaustive, methodical study of style, iconography, history and technique. There are many works which it has not been possible to attribute to a known painter or a master with a provisional name. These works, classified as anonymous, have been little studied to date, because they are generally of inferior quality, and researchers have given priority to studying the great masters. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that they reflect what was being produced at that time in the southern Low Countries. In addition to the fact that these paintings represent themes which were popular at the time, their study gives glimpses of various aspects of the socio-economic context and studio practices. These works were intended for a wide market and show evidence of technical processes permitting speedy execution to enable circulation of more than one example.


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