Geertgen tot Sint Jans and the Adoration of the Kings
Distributed for Hirmer Publishers
Mainly active from 1480 to 1490 in Haarlem, Geertgen tot Sint Jans is considered the first of the major painters of the northern Netherlands. This publication examines the recently restored Winterthur panel, formerly attributed to Geertgen, in juxtaposition with his paintings depicting the biblical “Adoration” scene.
Already in the Baroque era, Geertgen tot Sint Jans, who lived amongst the Haarlem Hospitallers and died young in 1495, was regarded as the founding father of northern Netherlandish painting. Among the few preserved pieces that can be linked to Geertgen with certainty are four depicting the “Adoration of the Kings”. The Winterthur version, the largest of the paintings and formerly attributed to Geertgen, has now been systematically investigated to reveal stylistic and technical traits of an unknown follower. To explore the work of the artist and his legacy, the publication juxtaposes the Wintherthur panel with original Geertgen “Adoration” pictures from the National Gallery in Prague, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio. The similar iconography of the pieces reveals a variety of stylistic accents and emphasizes the artistic progress of his work. In focusing on the “Adoration” subject matter, the book also reveals Geertgen’s preoccupation with his idol, Hugo van der Goes. Full-page plates and detail reproductions of paintings complement this volume. Extensive commentaries in a series of essays on thematic, artistic and scientific aspects of the investigation are also included.