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Barthelemy d '
Eyck

France 
1420−1470
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Biography and information

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His mother was from Maastricht in Limburg, in the second marriage she became the wife of a certain Pierre du Billan, also a native of the “German side”, who was an artist, embroiderer, and lackey of King Rene from 1441 to 1470. His father had his own workshop and except Moreover, he was trusted by political orders in Provence. In 1444, the name of Barthelemy was first mentioned in a document that states that “the artist Bartholomeus de Hayk” lives in Aix. In 1447, Barthelemy entered the service of King Rene. In 1451, Barthelemy accompanied the king on his trip to the province of Guyenne, and in 1456 stayed in Angers, which he continued to visit more than once.

The name of Barthelemy d'Eyka has long been known from historical documents. He was the court painter of King René the Good, had a high reputation as an outstanding master, testimonies of his contemporaries testify to this. However, there is little specific information about it.

The researchers believe that Barthelemy is of Dutch origin, and the training took place in the workshop of Jan Van Eyck, where he probably contacted Robert Kampen. This version does not have documentary evidence, but it is very popular among scientists, since Dutch skills are visible in the works of Barthelemy. His mother was from Maastricht in Limburg, in the second marriage she became the wife of a certain Pierre du Billan, also a native of the “German side”, who was an artist, an embroiderer, and a footman of King Rene from 1441 to 1470. Unlike Barthelemy, who lived in close proximity to the king, his stepfather had his own workshop, and in addition, he was entrusted with political tasks in Provence. In 1444, the name of Barthelemy was first mentioned in a document that states that “the artist Bartholomeus de Hayk” lives in Aix. In 1447, Barthelemy enters the service of King Rene, and his workshop is located in the room next to the royal apartments, which indicates a high degree of respect and trust.

The artist was on this service from 1447 to 1469, he was allowed to work even in the sleeping king, he accompanied the king everywhere. It is also known from the documents that in 1451 Barthelemy accompanied the king on his trip to the province of Guyenne, and in 1456 stayed in Angers, which he continued to visit more than once. Until 1471, the supposed date for the death of Barthelemy and his stepfather, King Rene only rarely turned to local, Provencal artists who had never been part of his retinue, unlike the two German-Dutch masters whose services he preferred. Dying, Barthelemy left many unfinished works, as evidenced by his widow's letter.

There is no work signed by Barthelemy. The entire extensive corpus of works, which today is listed behind him, is attributed to the artist solely on the basis of stylistic features. The case of Barthelemy d'Eyk is quite unique: today he is credited with the works of three different anonymous masters who have long been known to the science of art criticism. This is, firstly, the so-called Master René of the King, the author of excellent miniatures in the three royal manuscripts. Secondly, it is the Master of the Annunciation of Aix, the author of the famous "Annunciation", who played a crucial role in the formation of the Avignon school of painting. And thirdly, this is the “Master of 1456”, the author of a male portrait from the Vienna Liechtenstein Museum.

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