Colnaghi Foundation Journal 02 - Page 122

Rediscovering the Master of the Saint George and the Princess: new paintings
Figs. 5a & 5b / Master of Saint
George and the Princess, Saint
John the Baptist, Saint James,
Siresa (Huesca), monastery of
Saint Peter.
Fig. 6 / Master of Saint
George and the Princess,
Betrayal of Christ, 98.1 x 67.7
cm, Private Collection.
Stylistic analysis shows that the Altarpiece of Saint
George and the Princess, the two panels from Siresa, and
the head of Daniel in the Museo del Prado form a
homogenous group.33 The present article proposes
to add to this catalogue six more paintings, some
of which have appeared on the market in the last
few years. The first of these paintings was recently
auctioned at Christie’s (New York) and represents the
Betrayal of Christ (fig. 6).34 This panel formerly belonged
to the Vilallonga Collection in Barcelona, where it was
seen by Post who attributed it to the Morata Master.35
The work shows the moment of Christ’s arrest while
praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, following the
canonical accounts (John, 18: 1-12; Mark, 14: 43-52;
Matthew, 26: 47-66; Luke, 22: 47-53) in which
Rediscovering the Master of the Saint George and the Princess: new paintings
Judas kissed and embraced him. A motley group of
soldiers, wearing mail and silver helmets, make up
the retinue tasked with carrying out the arrest, this
action indicated by the gestures of two soldiers who
grab Christ by the arm. In the foreground left is Saint
Peter who has already cut off the ear of Malchus, the
servant of the High Priest who collaborated in the
arrest (although here Malchus also appears dressed
as a soldier). At the same time, Christ is represented
performing the miracle described in the scriptures,
when he heals the wounded ear which nevertheless
still bleeds in the painting. The figures of Christ and
Peter have gilded and embossed gesso concentric
haloes as is common in Aragonese painting of the
Late Gothic period.36
The format of the panel, its measurements, and its
carpentry indicate that it was one of the cases in the
predella of a retable, of which this seems to be, for
the time being, the only extant element. Based on the
panel’s theme, the predella must have been dedicated
to the Passion. The panel is in good condition, with
its original gilded carpentry, which nevertheless
presents some losses. The woodwork incorporates
architectural motifs common during the Late Gothic
period, with two pinnacles flanking the panel and a
three-lobed arch topped with a florón emerging from
it, with fronds on its outer profile. The intrados of the
arch is polylobulated, while the area of the extrados
has been decorated with a continuous frieze of
flamboyant tracery.
The painting perfectly accords with the style of the
author of Saint George and the Princess in the Museu
Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. The painter’s chromatic
treatment of faces is unusual, with a yellowish tone
that has no doubt increased with time. That of Christ,
however, is more greyish, very much in line with the
Saint Sebastian preserved in Gaasbeek Castle (Belgium),
discussed further below. This peculiar approach to the
chromatic range of certain faces should thus be added
to what little we know of the painter from a technical
point of view. The style, on the other hand, is similar to
that of the few works known to date by the master. Thus,
the face of the soldier who holds the right arm of Christ
is concomitant with Daniel in the Museo del Prado and
Saint George in Barcelona.


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