Jan Gossaert was a Netherlandish artist active in the early 16th Century. He is often referred to by several other name variations: Jan Gossart, Jennyn van Hennegouwe, Jan Mabuse (a name he adopted from his birthplace in Maubeuge, now a part of France), or simply “Mabuse”.
Though strongly influenced by his predecessors Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden, Gossaert was a key figure in the incorporation of Italian painting techniques and mythological subject matter into Flemish art.
He was one of the most accomplished and innovative artists of the Northern Renaissance. He was noted in particular for his playful, illusionistic use of space, evident in both his religious tableaux and his striking, intimate portraits.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, together with the National Gallery, London, has organized the first major exhibition of Gossaert’s work in almost 50 years, Man Myth and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossaert’s Renaissance. There is a gallery of images from the exhibition here.
You can see a video on the Met’s page about the exhibit in which they go into the restoration one of Gossaert’s portraits (image above, bottom), discuss his techniques for creating spatial depth and his use of limited color ranges in creating strikingly realistic textures.
Gossaert is also renowned for his drawings, of which there are several in the exhibition, created in chalks, pen, brush and various brown inks. Particularly interesting, if you get to see the exhibit, is his effective use of two colors of brown and reddish brown ink in the same image.
Man Myth and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossaert’s Renaissance will be at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York until January 17, 2011, and will be on display at the National Gallery, London from 23 February to 30 May, 2011.