Hertgen the one

Netherlands • 1460−1495

Biography and information

Geertgen tot Sint Jans, (Geertgen tot Sint Jans) (Leiden? 1460-1465 — Haarlem? up to 1495) — North Netherlandish painter.

This early deceased artist working in Harlem, is one of the most significant figures of North-Netherlandish painting of the late XV century painting style of Herthen characteristic thin emotionality in the interpretation of religious subjects, attention to the phenomena of everyday life and the thoughtful, poetic and inspired attention to detail. All of this will be developed in a realistic Dutch painting of the later centuries.

Herthen the Sint-Jans was born between 1460 and 1465 the years, probably in Leiden. Activities Herthen the Sint-Jans started in Harlem in the late 15th century did not reach us any documents about his life. The place of his birth is established by the engraving of Theodore Matam (about 1625), reproducing one of the paintings of Gartena. In this print there is an inscription indicating the Leiden - the homeland of the artist - "Hertgen Leiden".

In his youth, Geertgen was a disciple of the above-mentioned albert van Ouwater in and in many ways was not only equal to his teacher, but surpassed it, especially with the power of his images, compositions, the beauty of the figures and the communication of feelings. Then some time was in Bruges. In the lists of the Guild of miniaturists of this city over the years 1475-1476 refers to "Gertsena Dutchman". The main source of information about Herthese "Book of the artists" van Mander, but information on these is negligible.

Van Mander tells that Hertgen the Sint-Jans lived in the monastery of the knights of the order of St. John in Haarlem, why he received his nickname of "little Gerard of the Brotherhood of SV. John." In this monastery he lived and worked, not entering, however, into the order. His best work was done by order of the brothers of Saint John.

In all his works, starting with the first steps of creativity, Hertgen the Sint-Jans showed good knowledge of the best achievements of Flemish painting. He probably met her samples before learning Outer. Judging by the style, to the early works of Hertgen is "a Family of Christ in the Church" (CA. 1480, Amsterdam, Riksmuseum). The interior of the Cathedral, in which the action occurs, the symmetrical arrangement of figures, some of their motionlessness and more reminiscent of the "Resurrection of Lazarus" Ouwater. Actors festive, but this scene looks pretty directly - it has something from everyday life - the abundance of domestic details not overload the composition, but rather makes it a special intimacy.

The most important and most celebrated work of the artist - the great altar of the "descent from the cross". Unfortunately, it has come down to us only partially. Preserved only the right-sided fold, now divided into two separate films (Vienna, Picture gallery of the Kunsthistorisches Museum).

On the middle Board was a picture of "Christ on the cross." The sash was also large in size and are painted on both sides. Middle Board and one of the folds or died during the religious unrest or during the siege of Haarlem. The inner part preserved the sash depicts the "Lamentation". The asymmetric position of the pieces, and build a space diagonally, leaving deep, reminiscent of the paintings of Hugo van der goes. Close figure of Christ covered by a quiet sorrow., while under the cross at Calvary reigns restless excitement. Ugly, APE executioners of his appearance represent evil, cruelty and inhumanity that prevails on earth.

The same juxtaposition occurs in the scene "the Burning of the remains of SV. John The Baptist." Here is an extremely expressive attempt to distinguish between the earthly bearers of good and evil: the noble appearance of the knights confront the ugly, fussy executioners with brutal faces, throwing into the fire the bones of the Saint.

The artist is the forerunner of important innovations in Netherlandish art, depicting on the same paper portraits of the clients of the brothers of Saint John. Thus were laid the foundations of the genre of group portrait, which became widespread in the 16th and 17th centuries. Hertgen naive and just puts together several individual portraits. Very accurately conveys the features. But in the same position, turns heads, shackled hand gestures similar monastic clothing create monotony. From portraits of Gertsena a direct path leads to the first secular portraits of this type, which arose in the XVI century in the Northern Netherlands. And although the creators have taken a big step forward, managing to overcome the limits of ecclesiastical art, techniques of interpretation of the human person and of the team differed little from the techniques Gertsena.

New Parthenon interpreted the theme of "Christmas" (London, national gallery) is one of the first "Nocturnes", night scenes, in the visual arts of the Netherlands. The darkness of night is illuminated there by the light emanating from the divine infant, our lady and the little angels gathered at his bedside.

Some time later written a wonderful little painting "St. John the Baptist in the wilderness" (Berlin-Dahlem Art gallery of the state Museum). In John the Baptist in the wilderness artist differently solves the problem of the thinking person whose image was in focus individualists of the first half of the 15th century.

The master has opened the soft charm of simple human feelings - he is interested in the inner spiritual world of man. In his art remained something of sincere and naive primitivism. His heroes possess a special spiritual community, they are simple-minded and unsophisticated. Favorite person strictly oval, extremely three-dimensional and devoid of technicalities. But it emphasizes even more realistic view of the artist and the sincerity of feelings of the characters, the characters who inspired and touching. In some cases, Gerchen aware of the loss of its former belief in a perfect harmonic relationship between man and the environment.

In his work stand out paintings that researchers put into communication with prereformation ideas that spread in the late fifteenth and the late sixteenth century. In one of them, "Christ the Martyr" (Utrecht, Museum of the Archbishop), the artist refuses landscape, again objecting to the medieval Golden background, on which with stunning accuracy, to tangibility vividly presents the Nude figure of Christ the Martyr. Unbearable suffering is emphasized numerous objects of symbolic value. the instruments of the passion, which are the weeping angels.

The idealized image of the Madonna, exalted and at the same time very human, the artist has depicted in the painting "Madonna and child" (Berlin-Dahlem Art gallery of the state Museum). A pretty oval face, slightly slanted eyes, small mouth Express tenderness, affection, care. All imbued with the warmth of maternal feelings.

Herthen the Sint-Jans died early (at age 28), failed for your life more than other peers, to identify in the Dutch painting of the Early Renaissance actually Dutch. His art is close to the democratic atmosphere of the Northern Netherlands, his painting is marked by the sincere simplicity and sincerity. It is even more clearly expressed in his art a sense of human interaction, but has not lost interest in individual personal beginning in the person.

Hertgen, short-lived, but extremely fruitful. He left many disciples and followers. Harlem and not only Harlem, the master for a long time followed his samples. Among them, several anonymous artists with conditional names of the Master of the Brunswick diptych Master of the legend of St. Policemen and others. They were the immediate successors of Gartena. His influence had an effect later, in the sixteenth century, Jan Mostert, Jacob Cornelis van Otsenena and some other artists.

The influence of Herthen justified national feeling of nature is simultaneously a diverse and deeply serious that have since become an integral feature of Dutch art.