Modena’s Galleria Estense inherited part of the art collections of the House of Este, which ruled over the duchies of Ferrara and Modena up to the unification of Italy in 1860. As the collections accumulated by Leonello and Borso d’Este in the fifteenth century had been lost, the paintings by Flemish Primitives in the museum today come from the bequest of marquis Tommaso Obizzi and from acquisitions by Dukes Francis IV and Francis V of Austria-Este in the first decades of the nineteenth century. There are about ten paintings, including two polyptych panels by a follower of Van Eyck, probably originating in southern Germany (ca. 1450); a Crucifixion by another follower of the Bruges Master (ca. 1470-90); a Madonna with Child by the Master of the Saint Lucy Legend, which came from the collections of the Gonzagas of Mantua (ca. 1485); a Saint Christopher, an early work by Albrecht Bouts, resembling the work of his father, Dieric (ca. 1485) and the Madonna and Child with Saint Anne by Joos van Cleve (ca. 1516).
Marcello Toffanello, Curator of Fine Arts of the 14th – 16th Centuries (March 2022)