Monday, January 17, 2011

New One On Me

Jan Gossaert, St. John the Baptist
Flemish, 1521
Toledo, OH, Museum of Art
This afternoon I took advantage of the Metropolitan Museum's holiday opening hours to revisit and complete viewing of the exhibition "Man, Myth and Sensual Pleasures:  Jan Gossaert's Renaissance", which closed today.  I had made an earlier visit but, on that occasion, the onset of back pain had caused me to cut my visit short and leave with several rooms unvisited.  Since then I've tried several times to complete the viewing, but been prevented by this or that.  So, with one day left, I absolutely HAD to get there. 

Gossaert is not one of my favorite painters.  Indeed, I find most of his work rather ugly.  But he is important in the story of how the classical Renaissance aesthetic penetrated the northern European countries.  At the start of the fifteenth century Italy and the countries north of the Alps, were artistically different worlds.  By the mid-seventeenth century they were aesthetically unified.  Gossaert's work is part of the story of how they got that way.

One of  the rooms I had not viewed on my earlier visit centered on images of the Passion of Christ.  And among the works on display were the disparate pieces of what has formerly been known as the "Salamanca Triptych".  As the wall cards (and catalogue) explain, a picture of the "Deposition" had, at some point in the century after Gossaert's death, been attached to two wings, presumably from another triptych (Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, 1521).  The wings show on their reverse sides a typical scene of the Annunciation in grisaille, with Mary on one wing and Gabriel on the other.  On the front sides are two saints, St. Peter and St. John the Baptist.  When I saw the St. John the Baptist, I broke into a smile.  Here, two days after my post about St. John the Baptist and the Lamb, was another such image, and a new one to me!  The image here couldn't be clearer.  The Lamb of God sits at John's feet and there is no mistaking John's gesture.  So, I share this new image with you.

If you would like to see more of Gossart's work, please check out the exhibition website{E166EBFA-C573-4E54-80E8-42B4CCF0E616}