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The Master of the Prodigal Son (active Antwerp c. 1530-1550)
The Master of the Prodigal Son (active Antwerp c. 1530-1550)

The Healing of the Sick of the Palsy (Matthew IX, 1-8, Mark II, 3-12 and Luke V, 18-26).

The Master of the Prodigal Son (active Antwerp c. 1530-1550)
The Healing of the Sick of the Palsy (Matthew IX, 1-8, Mark II, 3-12 and Luke V, 18-26).
inscribed M (lower left foreground)
oil on panel
39 x 56 in. (99.1 x 142.3 cm.)
Underdrawing, particularly in the right middle ground shows up light.
Clifton Hall, Nottinghamshire, since the eighteenth century and by descent.
Sale Room Notice
Correction to attribution and additional information:

The Clermont Ferrand painting mentioned in the catalogue note has recently been attributed to the Master of Paul and Barnabas, named after the picture of Saints Paul and Barnabas at Lystra, in Budapest. Professor Bruyn identified this master as Jan Mandijn with whom, according to Carel van Mander, Pieter Aertsen stayed in Antwerp (see J. Bruyn, 'De Meester van Paulus en Barnabas (Jan Mandijn?) en een vroeg werk van Pieter Aertsen' in Rubens and his World, Antwerp, 1985, pp. 17-29). The present picture is inscribed with the letter M; and it is thus likely that the M is the signature of this Jan Mandijn (not the other Jan Mandijn (Haarlem 1500-Antwerp 1560) and imitator of Bosch) by whom no other works are known. The artist was well established in Antwerp where he registered seven pupils between 1530 and 1537. Furthermore he valued three pictures together with Aertsen in 1542 (op. cit., Bruyn, 1985, p. 18). The attribution of the present work should therefore read The Master of Paul and Barnabas (probably Jan Mandijn, active in Antwerp circa 1530-1542).

Lot Essay

This spectacular, unpublished work, with its references to the styles of Jan Sanders van Hemessen and Pieter Aertsen, appears to be by an artist not far distant from the Brunswick Monogrammist, who was active in Antwerp c. 1535. Most comparable would appear to be the The Parable of the Great Supper (Matthew XXII, 5-14) in the Musée Bargoin at Clermont-Ferrand, of which a version was sold at Christie's, 29 November 1963, lot 36, and is now in the Cummer Gallery of Art, Jacksonville, which has been attributed to Aertsen (see Keith P.F. Mosey, The 'Humanist' Market Scenes of Joachim Beuckelaer, etc., Jaarboek van het Koninklÿÿk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, 1976, pp. 161-162, fig. 45). This attribution was rejected by Marie-Laure de Contenson-Hallopeau when publishing the Musée Bargoin picture as the work of the Master of the Prodigal Son, active in Antwerp c. 1545 (see her article La Parabole du Festin par 'Le Maître du fils Prodigue', Le Revue du Louvre et des Musées de France, 1982, pp. 273-7), with which attribution R. Genaille agreed (see his article Martyres et paraboles etc., Jaarboek van het Koninklÿÿk Museum voor schone Kunsten Antwerpen, 1984, p. 157). However, an element of doubt must obtain concerning the attribution of the present work, because the master's oeuvre as at present constituted is not homogeneous; this is also the case with that of the Brunswick Monogrammist.

The subject is very rarely depicted. It is treated here - like the Parable of the Great Supper - in episodic fashion, following the account given by Mark and Luke, in which the sufferer is let down through the roof on the left where he is healed by Christ, and is then shown in the middle distance having been told by Christ: 'Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.' A picture showing the healed man returning to his house, not unlike this motif in the present work, is in the National Gallery of Art, Washington; formerly attributed to Jan Sanders van Hemessen, it is now described as the work of an anonymous, Netherlandish sixteenth-century artist.

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