Portrait of Heinrich von Werl and Saint John the Baptist
oil on oak panel panel 15.35 x 8.46 inches (39 x 21.5 cm) hand made oak frame by Christer Björkman frame 18.50 x 11.81 inches (47 x 30 cm) most likely painted in the 1600s
Provenance: A Swedish private collection; Bukowskis Auctions, Important Winter Sale 645, lot 1436788, as After Robert Campin from the 1500s
Here we have a copy after Robert Campins famous triptych altarpiece, "The Werl Triptych", from 1438, today in the Prado Museum in Madrid. One of the three panels, the centrepiece, is unfortunately lost. Depicted is the donor, Heinrich von Werl, who kneels in prayer in the company of Saint John the Baptist. Von Werl was a member of the Minorites order (today known as the Franciscan order) in Osnabrück. He moved to Cologne in 1430 to study at the university, where he received a magister degree in 1435, having earlier been appointed provincial of Cologne province. He probably commissioned the original triptych work for the Minorite church in Cologne. The triptych further introduces the idea of the intermediary saint, a Jan van Eyck influence; here, represented by John the Baptist seen holding a lamb in the same panel as von Werl, increasing the significance of the area occupied by the donor. Many artists admired these 15th-century Netherlandish masterpieces, and a lot of copies were made in the 1500s and 1600s. Today many of them are lost, and our painting is a rare find. Our painting is not from the 1500s; it's more likely from the 1600s after examination of the panel and painting technic. One of the most striking details is the convex mirror, a detail that also can be seen in the famous Arnolfini portrait by Jan van Eyck.
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