Lines and Colors art blog

Jan Gossaert (Mabuse)

Jan Gossaert (Mabuse)
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.


7 responses to “Jan Gossaert (Mabuse)”

  1. Robert Johnson Avatar
    Robert Johnson

    Beautiful paintings.

    The hands to me are especially well done and worthy of study.

    Thank you.


  2. The image of Christ looks almost like iconography. Striking.

  3. great paintings. keep it up

  4. This is stunningly beautiful. I look at this and then, I remember the press preview yesterday at SF MOMA where wine glasses, displays of wine making paraphernalia and a video of a man spilling wine on his white suit are considered art.

    1. Yes. We’ve come so far, haven’t we?

  5. Do I detect a tiny hint of sarcasm in your reply? I know that I often wish that SF had more museums devoted to more traditional art. We have the Asian, the De Young (mixed) and the Legion (gorgeous but small). The Berkeley Art Museum occasionally hits a home run as they have with their current exhibit of Japanese art but we seldom have an exhibit of medieval or Renaissance art. Instead we have acres and acres of the current dreck-du-jour. I try to be fair because I am supposed to be in my role as art and museum reviewer for the but my heart is not in it.

    1. It’s the price you pay for being out there on the “frontier” (grin).

      I would venture that some of the interesting exhibit activity might take place in private galleries (provided they’re not beyond your purview). Perhaps you could occasionally mention exhibits in other places as a service to your readers who travel (expense account, please – ha!).

      Being “fair” doesn’t mean not having a point of view. I just read your review of the wine exhibit and you managed to make a good read of it..

      For other readers: SFMOMA: How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now, and other articles by Nancy Ewart.