CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Patinir y la invenci贸n del paisaje

Patinir: the invention of landscape Exhibition: 3 July - 7 October 2007

After the exhibition a DVD about Patinir was published by the Prado and the Centro de Estudios Europa Hisp谩nica (CEEH). Click here for the DVD cover (PDF, 1 MB, in Spanish) or go to the CEEH-website for information and to order the DVD online (available in Spanish and English).

Museum photosheet

(pdf 1 Mb)

Museum press release

The Museo del Prado presents the first exhibition devoted to this enigmatic Flemish artist, considered the forerunner of landscape painting.

Featuring a total of 48 paintings, 21 by Patinir and the remainder by his most important predecessors and followers, the exhibition will offer visitors the first opportunity to see most of this unique painter鈥檚 work together. Patinir is little known to the wider public, possibly due to his small oeuvre and the fact that few collections contain a sizeable group of his paintings. This has made the study of his art difficult up to now, even for specialists.

Arising from the research carried out in the preparation of this exhibition, its curator is also responsible for the publication of a catalogue rais贸nne of Patinir鈥檚 work, which aims to become the principal source of reference on this subject for specialists in Flemish art.

May 2007. This July the Museo del Prado will be presenting the first exhibition devoted to the painter Joachim Patinir. This 16th-century Flemish artist and contemporary of Bosch can be considered the father of landscape. Aside from his important role within the history of art as the inventor of that genre, Patinir is an exceptionally appealing artist due to his poetic and enigmatic vision of nature. In addition, his small surviving oeuvre and the little that is known about his life make him an interesting and mysterious figure. The exhibition brings together 21 of the 29 paintings which the curator, Dr Alejandro Vergara, Chief Curator of Flemish Painting at the Museo del Prado, has attributed to the artist and a further 27 paintings and works on paper by predecessors and followers of his style.

The exhibition will bring together the largest group of the artist鈥檚 works to date. Most have very rarely or never been previously loaned due to the particular conservation problems associated with oils on panel. Among the paintings by Patinir to be included in the exhibition, six come from Spanish collections (four from the Prado, one from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and one from the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial). Patinir is particularly well represented in Spain and almost a quarter of his entire oeuvre is now to be found in the region of Madrid.

This is the most ambitious exhibition that the Museum is devoting to the work of a 16th-century Flemish artist and the Prado, which houses one of the best collections of 15th- and 16th-century Netherlandish painting worldwide, is paying tribute to this great figure, the first Flemish artist to make landscape the principal subject of a painting. In addition, with the four works mentioned above, the Prado has the largest collection of Patinir鈥檚 works in any collection. With the present exhibition in mind, the Museum has restored these four oil paintings over the last three years.

Among the most important works loaned for the exhibition are The Martyrdom of Saint Catherine and The Baptism of Christ from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; the Triptych with the penitent Saint Jerome from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York which has never travelled before; the small but beautiful Landscape with the Flight into Egypt from the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp; and the spectacular Landscape with Saint Christopher from El Escorial.

Patinir and his predecessors

Joachim Patinir鈥檚 date of birth is unknown, but he was probably born in modern-day south-east Belgium between 1480 and 1485. It is generally thought that from 1515 he worked as a painter in Antwerp and that he died there in 1524. The present exhibition intends to shed light on his biography and career and above all to draw the public鈥檚 attention to some of the most evocative and mysterious landscapes ever painted. With the exception of some works that cannot travel for conservation reasons, the exhibition Joachim Patinir brings together all the works considered to be by the artist and his studio, including some recent attributions.

Described by D眉rer at the outset of the Renaissance as 鈥渢he good painter of landscapes鈥, Patinir was considered the first modern painter to specialise in this genre. The exhibition opens with a selection of works by forerunners of the artist in which a growing interest in the natural setting is evident. Nonetheless, neither Bosch, Robert Campin, Hans Memling or Dirk Bouts, among other forerunners of the artist, went on to specialise in landscape despite their evident influence on this genre. The exhibition examines the work of some of these predecessors of Patinir in whose painting landscape ceased to act as a mere background to the figures and became a setting in which the actions depicted took place.

Patinir鈥檚 success cannot be understood without the earlier example of these figures, who by endowing the natural setting with a new importance laid the way for the process of artistic investigation on which Patinir embarked. The artist thus became the earliest forerunner of landscape painting as an independent genre. Among the reasons for the spectacular rise of this genre the geographical context was important. Antwerp was the leading art market of Europe and in contrast to other major European cities, the range of works produced there was enormous and was controlled by the artists themselves rather than by the Church. Within this context of economic growth and a competitive market, Patinir gained a pre-eminent role in which the combination of detailed observation from life and imaginative and fantastical interpretation brought him close to the work of other Flemish painters known for their striking styles, such as Bosch and Pieter Bruegel.

The Core of the Exhibition

The principal section of the exhibition is devoted to 21 paintings by Patinir and is the largest groups of his works ever to be brought together. These were produced at a time when it was normal for painters to work in collaboration with their studio and the exhibition has consequently aimed to establish which were painted by Patinir himself and which by his pupils. In addition, two new works are included which seem to indicate the artist鈥檚 own hand or that of his studio: the Triptych with the penitent Saint Jerome and Landscape with the Crucifixion, both from private collections.

The display of works combines a chronological and stylistic ordering. Three rooms devoted to Patinir reveal not only the originality of his style but also pay attention to stylistic and attributional issues. The paintings are grouped according to the similarities evident in the different versions of a particular subject, such as the religious subjects with Saint Jerome or the Rest on the Flight into Egypt. Patinir鈥檚 progressive mastery of landscape as an increasingly important element culminates in his large, late paintings. Three of them form the core of the exhibition: Landscape with Saint Christopher from the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial; Charon Crossing the Styx and The Temptations of Saint Anthony, both from the Museo del Prado.

Patinir鈥檚 Influence

The exhibition closes with a room of works that reveal the enormous impact of Patinir鈥檚 work on that of his contemporaries. These artists include Quinten Massys (1466-1530), Bernard van Orley (ca.1488-1541), and Joos van Cleve (died in 1540/1541), as well as artists of the next generation such as Herri Met de Bles (ca.1510-after 1550), and Jan van Amstel (ca.1500-ca.1542).

Special publications

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue raisonn茅. In addition to the 21 works in the exhibition it includes 8 more paintings by Patinir which have been attributed to the artist on the basis of the research undertaken in relation to the present exhibition. In addition to Dr Vergara himself, the scholars involved in the detailed cataloguing of these 29 works include the curators of the museums housing works by Patinir such as the National Gallery, London, the Mus茅e du Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as Dr Pilar Silva, Head of the Department of Flemish and Northern Painting (up to 1600) at the Museo del Prado. Dr Silva has undertaken an in-depth study of the four works by the artist in the Museum.

Catalogue raisonn茅 of the work of Joachim Patinir

This volume includes seven essays and an introduction as well as a catalogue raisonn茅 of the 29 works by the artist. In addition, it includes two appendices which reproduce all the documents referring to Patinir prior to 1700 as well as a study of the chronology of his output.

1. Introduction

Alejandro Vergara, curator of the exhibition and Chief Curator of Flemish Painting at the Museo Nacional del Prado.

2. What is a 鈥淧atinir鈥? Who was Patinir?

Alejandro Vergara, curator of the exhibition and Chief Curator of Flemish Painting at the Museo Nacional del Prado.

3. Joachim Patinir, 鈥榙er gut landschafft mahler鈥 in Written Sources

Maximilian P.J. Martens, Universiteit Gent

4. The Devil is in the Detail. Ways of Seeing Joachim Patinir鈥檚 鈥榃orld Landscapes鈥

Reindert Falkenburg, Universiteit Leiden and University of California, Berkeley

5. Multiple Advantages, Moderate Production: Thoughts on Patinir and Marketing

Dan Ewing, Barry University, Florida

6. Patinir and Depictions of Landscape in the Netherlands

Catherine Reynolds, independent art historian, London

7. Landscape in Flemish Manuscript Illumination of the Fifteenth Century

Thomas Kren, Getty Museum

8. Patinir鈥檚 Draughtsmanship Reconsidered

Stefaan Hautekeete, Mus茅es Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels

Exhibits list

Section 1: The Origins of Flemish Landscape: Patinir鈥檚 precedents

JAN VAN EYCK鈥橲 FOLLOWER
St. Christopher
Oil on panel, 29 x 21 cm
ca. 1465
Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection

ROBERT CAMPIN
Saint John the Baptist and the Franciscan Theologian Heinrich von Werl
Oil on panel, 101 x 47 cm
1438
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

ROGIER VAN DER WEYDEN
The Piet脿
Oil on panel, 47 x 34.5 cm
ca. 1450
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

DIRK BOUTS
The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Adoration of the Angels, The Adoration of the Magi
Oil on panel, central panel 80 x 105 cm, two lateral panels 80 x 56 cm
ca. 1445
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

MASTER OF THE GROG MADONA
Triptych with the Virgin and Chile in a landscape
Oil on panel, 116 x 146 cm
Last quarter of the XVth century
Burgos, Museo Diocesano-Catedralicio

GERARD DAVID
Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Oil on panel, 60 x 39 cm
ca. 1515
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

GERARD DAVID
Scene in a Forest, exterior of the doors of the Nativity Triptych
Oil on panel, 90 x 60 cm
ca. 1505-1515
The Hague, Mauritshuis on loan from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

HIERONYMUS BOSCH
The Haywain, exterior of the doors
Oil on panel, 135 x 45 cm each door
ca. 1514-1516
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

HIERONYMUS BOSCH
The Cure of Folly
Oil on panel, 48 x 35 cm
ca. 1490
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

ALBRECHT D脺RER
Hercules at the Crossroads
Engraving, 32.3 x 22.4 cm
ca. 1498
Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional

ALBRECHT D脺RER
Saint Eustace
Engraving, 36 x 26 cm
Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional

ALBRECHT D脺RER
St. Jerome in the Desert
Engraving, 36 x 26 cm
ca. 1496
Madrid, Fundaci贸n Casa de Alba

ANONYMOUS ARTIST
Book of the Seven Deadly Sins
Illuminated manuscript
Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional

LIEVEN VAN LATHEM
Saint Christopher
Illuminated manuscript
1469
Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum

MASTER OF THE DRESDEN PRAYERBOOK
Horas Vostre Demeure
Illuminated manuscript
ca. 1475-1480
Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional

MASTER OF MARY OF BURGUNDY (?)
The Hours of William Lord Hastings
Illuminated manuscript
End of the 1470s
Madrid, Fundaci贸n Lazaro Galdiano

Section II: Joachim Patinir

JOACHIM PATINIR
Landscape with St. Jerome
Oil on panel, 13 x 17 cm
Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle

JOACHIM PATINIR
Landscape with the Martyrdom of St Catherine
Oil on panel, 27.1 x 44.1 cm
ca. 1515
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum

JOACHIM PATINIR
Triptych with the Penitence of St Jerome, the Baptism of Christ and the Temptations of St. Anthony
Oil on panel, 127 x 81 (central panel); 127 x 44 cm (lateral panels)
ca. 1515-1516
New York, The Metropolitan Museum, Fletcher Fund 1936

JOACHIM PATINIR
Landscape with the Preaching of St John the Baptist
Oil on panel, 36 x 45 cm
ca. 1515-1518
Brussels, Mus茅e Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique

JOACHIM PATINIR
Landscape with the Flight into Egypt
Oil on panel, 18.3 x 22.4 cm
ca. 1516-1517
Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten

JOACHIM PATINIR
Landscape with St Jerome
Oil on panel, 74 x 91 cm
ca. 1516-1517
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

PATINIR AND HIS WORKSHOP
Landscape with St Jerome
Oil on panel, 25 x35 cm
ca. 1517-1524
Zurich, Kunsthaus

PATINIR AND HIS WORKSHOP
Landscape with Mary Magdalene
Oil on panel, 26.2 x 36 cm
ca. 1517-1524
Zurich, Kunsthaus

PATINIR AND WORKSHOP
Triptych with St Jerome, St John, St Anthony and Mary Magdalene
Oil on panel, 90 x 89 cm (central panel); 90 x 38 (lateral panels)
ca. 1517-1524
Paris, private collection

JOACHIM PATINIR
Landscape with the Rest in the Flight into Egypt
Oil on panel, 121 x 177 cm
1518-1520
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

JOACHIM PATINIR
Landscape with the Assumption of the Virgin
Oil on panel, 62.2 x 59.1 cm
1518
Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection

JOACHIM PATINIR
Landscape with the Flight into Egypt
Oil on panel, 31.5 x 57.5 cm
ca. 1518-1524
Madrid. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

JOACHIM PATINIR
Landscape with the Rest in the Flight into Egypt (fragment)
Oil on panel, 27 x 23 cm
ca. 1518-1524
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

JOACHIM PATINIR
Landscape with the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
Oil on panel, 23 x 29.5 cm
ca. 1520-1521
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

ATTRIBUTED TO JOACHIM PATINIR
Landscape with the Crucifixion
Oil on panel, 17 x 21 cm
ca. 1520-1524
Madrid, colecci贸n particular