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Title: The origins and meanings of Hans Memling's landscapes
Author: York, Helen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2698 4642
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2010
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This study explores the use and development of landscape settings in the religious works and portraits of Hans Memling (c.1440-94). It addresses how Memling's illusions blend the experimental with the traditional and considers how elements in their appearance could be said to resonate with spiritual and socio-economic features of context. Memling'S burgher patrons were a new, affluent group in late-medieval Bruges in search of a material culture that could promote and serve their aspirations. It was their commissions that drove artistic developments at this time and contributed to the transmission of visual ideas across borders, so a major focus is on understanding the part played by burgher identity and aspiration in the nature of the imagery that Memling created for them. The fIrst chapter provides an overview of scholarship on landscape imagery, with a view to setting the perspective of this study in its methodological context, and also to present significant examples of Memling's heritage in landscape representation. Analyses of religious works follow and these show that Memling's juxtaposition of landscape with figures plays a significant role in the interpretation of how the sacred and profane realms of late-medieval existence were perceived to have related to each other. Compositional elements are found in these works that Memling adapts for use in his portraits-with-Iandscape. Portraits of donors exist in many of Memling's religious paintings and there are features in the landscape that relate to their material success. Information on the real environment in which these donors and their contemporaries established their career, wealth and social status is presented in Chapter Three, and Chapter Four shows how Memling's portraits-with-Iandscape functioned as a visual record of a burgher aspiration to be seen as credit-worthy and in possession of the wealth and social esteem that comes with vivre noblement. The emphasis in this study on spiritual and socio-economic elements of context is not meant to marginalise other perspectives that help broaden understanding of landscape imagery at a time only decades before the emergence of landscape as an independent genre in Western art. However, a redirection of approach away from a focus that associates landscape in art with a growing interest in the natural environment has proved fruitful in relation to Memling.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available