The Master of the Rotterdam Saint John on Patmos* (active c.1415-1475)

Saint Jerome praying in a Landscape

The Master of the Rotterdam Saint John on Patmos* (active c.1415-1475)
Saint Jerome praying in a Landscape
oil on panel
12 x 9.1/8in. (30.5 x 23.2cm.)
Rud. Brockhaus, Leipzig (as with a rounded top and measuring 35.5 x 22cm.).
Private collection, Leipzig, 1929.
with Newhouse Galleries, New York, from whom purchased by the present owner in 1964.
M.J. Friedlnder, Early Netherlandish Painting, III, ed. H. Pauwels and S. Herzog, 1971, p. 73, no. 98, pl. 100 as by a follower of Dieric Bouts, a work 'of great subtlety in the execution...'.

Lot Essay

Traditionally given to an anonymous pupil in the workshop of Dieric Bouts, the present painting was recognized by W. Schne as being by one of the principal artists in the shop, now labelled The Master of the Rotterdam Saint John on Patmos, a painter whom Schne tentatively thought might be identified as Dieric's eldest son, Jan Bouts (active c.1498-1520). However, no firm identity has been found for this, as yet, anonymous master, although Schne has attributed several works to this same hand, including the Saint John on Patmos (Saint John writing the Gospel) in the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, (Inv. no. 1083), considered by Friedlnder to be a fully autograph work by Dieric Bouts (op. cit., p. 60, no. 6, pl. 12). This can clearly be identified as being by the same hand as the present work. Otto Pcht observed of that picture that the rocks on the right recall the lowest section of the right wing of the Bouts altarpiece of Elijah in the Wilderness in Sint Pieterskerk, Louvain. He also noted that the stretch of grass in the foreground, observed in a very similar way in the present work, is based on the left wing of the Adoration of the Magi, known as the Pearl of Brabant altarpiece in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich, given in the museum's catalogue to Dieric Bouts the Younger. The individual treatment of the figure, the jagged rocks, the distant landscape, and the realization of the light on the water further link these two paintings to the hand of the same artist.