Colnaghi Foundation Journal 02 - Page 135



134
Rediscovering the Master of the Saint George and the Princess: new paintings
Rediscovering the Master of the Saint George and the Princess: new paintings
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This article has received support from the research
project “Expresividad, sentimiento y emoción
(siglos XII-XV)” (Ministry of Economy, Industry
and Competitiveness, Spanish Government, ref.
HAR2016-75028-P, Universitat de Lleida, senior
researcher: Dr. Flocel Sabate).
Joaquim Folch i Torres, “El retaule de Sant Jordi, de
Jaume Huguet, al museu de la Ciutadella,” Gaseta de les
Arts 3 (1924): pp. 1-3; Laia Alsina, “Francesc Miquel
i Badia (Barcelona 1840-1899): crític, tractadista
i col·leccionista d’art,” (PhD diss., Universitat
Autònoma de Barcelona, 2015), pp. 339 and 409-410.
For a discussion of the phenomenon of the collecting
of Gothic painting in Catalonia, see Alberto Velasco,
“L’exposició retrospectiva de Barcelona de 1867
i els inicis del col·leccionisme de pintura gòtica a
Catalunya,” Lambard. Estudis d’art medieval 22 (2012):
pp. 9-65; Bonaventura Bassegoda, “L’apreciació de
l’art medieval a les primeres col·leccions catalanes,”
in Mercat de l’art, col·leccionisme i museus. Episodis sobre
el patrimoni artístic a Catalunya als segles XIX i XX,
eds. Bonaventura Bassegoda and Ignasi Domènech
(Bellaterra: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona,
2014), pp. 25-50.
The work had been cited briefly, without being
reproduced, in a Barcelona guidebook in 1884:
Josep Roca, Barcelona en la mano: guía de Barcelona y
sus alrededores (Barcelona: E. López, 1884), p. 197. It
was not until 1909 that it was attributed to Huguet
by Émile Bertaux, “Das Katalanische Sankt-Georg
Trptychon aus der Werkstatt des Jaime Huguet,”
Jahrbuch der Königlich Preussischen 30 (1909): pp. 187-192.
In the words of Rosa Alcoy, “La taula de Sant
Jordi i la Princesa és una d’aquelles obres d’art que,
transcendint la seva evidència immediata, el seu
estat fragmentari i les seves debilitats, ha esdevingut
un objecte pictòric de culte. Hem d’acceptar, doncs,
que enfrontem un producte rar i carismàtic, amb
una inèrcia pròpia, que la modernitat que arrela
als inicis del segle XX ha anat convertint en un
veritable símbol, sostingut sovint com una de les
banderes de la pintura catalana” (The panel of Saint
George and the Princess is one of those works of art
that, transcending their immediate evidence, their
fragmentary state and their weaknesses, has become
a cult painting object. We have to accept, then, that
we face a rare and charismatic product, with its
own inertia, that with the adevent of modern times
in the early twentieth century has become a true
symbol, often held up as one of the flags of Catalan
painting). See Rosa Alcoy, “Jaume Huguet*. Sant
Jordi i la princesa,” in La pintura gòtica hispanoflamenca.
Bartolomé Bermejo i la seva època, exh. cat. (Barcelona
and Bilbao: Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya,
Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2003), p. 312.
Rosa Alcoy, San Jorge y la Princesa. Diálogos de la
pintura del siglo XV en Cataluña y Aragón (Barcelona:
Publicacions i Edicions de la Universitat de
Barcelona, 2003).
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14.
Chandler Rathfon Post, The Aragonese School in the
Late Middle Ages: A History of Spanish Painting, 14
vols. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press,
1941), VIII, pp. 336-352, mentions on p. 345 the
“vague tradition” that placed its origins in this town
in Huesca. An earlier mistaken tradition claimed
it was from Valencia. See Francesc Quílez, “La
història del col·leccionisme públic a la Barcelona
vuitcentista,” in Col·leccionistes, col·leccions i museus.
Episodis de the història del patrimoni artístic de Catalunya,
eds. Bonaventura Bassegoda and Ignasi Domènech
(Bellaterra: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona,
2007), p. 57, note 106.
Bertaux, “Das Katalanische Sankt-Georg,” pp.
187-192.
On the identification of the donors, see Francesc
Ruiz Quesada, “Consideracions sobre el Sant Jordi
i la princesa i els seus donants,” in Jaume Huguet. 500
anys, exh. cat. (Barcelona: Departament de Cultura,
Generalitat de Catalunya, 1993), pp. 104-108; Alcoy,
San Jorge, pp. 77-122; Joan Valero, “La promoció
artística femenina dins del llinatge dels Cabrera a
l’època baixmedieval,” Lambard. Estudis d’art medieval
25 (2013-2014): pp. 93-105, where a number of
interesting questions, apart from the identity of the
donors, are analyzed.
The use of grisaille is significant since the first
documented altarpiece in the Hispanic kingdoms
where this technique was used was made in
Saragossa. This altarpiece decorates the chapel
of the ancient City Council, which combined
painting and sculpture and was commissioned from
the sculptor Pere Joan in 1443. On this altarpiece,
see Alberto Velasco Gonzàlez, “‘Para que sus
deliberaciones y consejos no vayan herrados sino
acertados.’ Gonzalo de la Caballería y el retablo de
la capilla del Concejo de Zaragoza (1443),” Tvriaso
22 (2014-2015): pp. 295-340. The grisaille images of
Saint John the Evangelist and Saint James are only
fragmentary since the panels have been sawed off
at the top. Hence, the identification of the second
saint is complex. On the reverse side of the Saint
George and the Princess compartment there is a
representation of an heraldic emblem related to the
Cabrera family.
Benjamin Rowland, Jaume Huguet. A Study of Late
Gothic Painting in Catalonia (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press 1932), pp. 154-159.
Josep Gudiol Ricart and Joan Ainaud de Lasarte,
Huguet (Barcelona: Instituto Amatller de Arte
Hispánico, 1948), pp. 34-50. See the studies of the
works included in this debate in Jaume Huguet. 500
anys, pp. 222-239 and 246-249.
See, for instance, Josep Gudiol, Pintura medieval
en Aragón (Saragossa: Institución “Fernando el
Católico”, 1971); Fabián Mañas, Pintura gótica
aragonesa (Saragossa: Guara Editorial, 1979).
These approaches appear, e.g., in Gudiol and
Ainaud, Huguet; Josep Gudiol, Pintura Gótica (Ars
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25.
Hispaniae, vol. IX) (Madrid: Plus Ultra, 1955); José
Camón Aznar, Pintura Medieval Española (Summa
Artis, vol. XXII) (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1966);
María del Carmen Lacarra, Primitivos aragoneses en el
Museo Provincial de Saragossa (Saragossa: Institución
“Fernando el Católico”, 1970); Gudiol, Pintura
Medieval; Mañas, Pintura gótica.
Chandler Rathfon Post, The Catalan School in the Late
Middle Ages. A History of Spanish Painting, vol. VII
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1938),
pp. 170-171; Post, The Aragonese School, pp. 337-352.
Joan Sureda, “Problemes entorn a Jaume Huguet:
proposta d’un nou catàleg,” Cultura 511 (1991): pp. 11-14.
Joan Sureda, Un cert Jaume Huguet, el capvespre d’un
somni (Barcelona: Lunwerg, 1994), pp. 87-89.
Joan Ainaud de Lasarte, “Sant Jordi i la Princesa,” in
Jaume Huguet. 500 anys, pp. 224-227.
One of the most recent works about the artist is the
PhD of Guadaira Macías, “La pintura aragonesa
de la segona meitat del segle XV relacionada amb
l’escola catalana: dues vies creatives a examen”, (PhD
diss., Universitat de Barcelona, 2013), pp. 171-215.
Alcoy, “Jaume Huguet*,” pp. 312-317. It is curious
to see that in this catalogue entry Alcoy presents
some arguments regarding the new attribution
that were not shared by the Museu Nacional d’Art
de Catalunya, the organizing institution of the
exhibition. Since the museum was reluctant to
withdraw the attribution to Huguet, the entry was
headed with the name of Huguet accompanied
by an asterisk and an annotation where the
discrepancies between the author and the institution
were manifest. Alcoy developed her theses in much
more depth in the book published the following year
(Alcoy, San Jorge).
On these works, see María del Carmen Lacarra,
“Anunciació i Epifania. Dos compartiments de
retaule,” in Jaume Huguet. 500 anys, pp. 228-231; Joan
Sureda, “Sarja de la Mare de Déu i l’àngel custodi,”
in Jaume Huguet. 500 anys, pp. 232-235; María del
Carmen Lacarra, “La qüestió aragonesa de Jaume
Huguet,” in L’art gòtic a Catalunya. Pintura. III. Darreres
manifestacions (Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana,
2006), pp. 147-149.
“... bajo un mismo halo, posiblemente el de un
maestro que debió dirigir un importante taller en
tierras aragonesas.” See Alcoy, San Jorge, p. 157.
“…la necesidad de distinguir entre ambos pintores.”
See Alcoy, San Jorge, pp. 156-157.
Joan Sureda, “Jaume Huguet i l’eixir de la dignitat
humana,” in L’art gòtic a Catalunya. Pintura. III. Darreres
manifestacions (Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana,
2006), p. 90; Eva March, “Jaume Huguet”, in L’art
gòtic a Catalunya. Pintura. III. Darreres manifestacions
(Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana, 2006), pp. 97-102.
There is sufficient stylistic evidence to differentiate
between, on the one hand, the painter of the Alloza
panels and the cloth from the monastery of the Holy
Sepulchre of Saragossa, and, on the other, the author
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of the altarpiece of Saint George and the Princess, although
this is beyond the scope of the present article.
In her PhD, Guadaira Macías also distinguishes
between the one and the other painter. See Macías,
“La pintura aragonesa.”
Rosa Alcoy, “Un proemi a Jaume Huguet. Reflexions
sobre la pintura en l’àrea tarragonina entre el 1412 i
el 1448,” in Jaume Huguet. 500 anys, p. 47.
Thus, in the last study Alcoy has made of the panel
of Saint George and the Princess, the authorship is given
to “Bernat Ortoneda (?)”. See Rosa Alcoy, Pintura
catalana. El gòtic (Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana,
2017), pp. 372-373.
It is possible that certain aspects of the art of the
great Catalan master reached Aragon later on. There
is a documentary reference supporting this in the
journey that Martín Bernat and Miguel Ximénez
made to Barcelona in 1489 to examine the altarpiece
that Jaume Huguet had made in the church of Sant
Agustí el Vell, of which there are some panels in the
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. They were sent
there, however, to familiarize themselves with a rather
exceptional iconographic cycle, as they had been
commissioned to produce an altarpiece dedicated
to the same saint for the church of San Agustín in
Saragossa. See Manuel Serrano Sanz, “Documentos
relativos a la pintura en Aragón durante el siglo XV,”
Revista de Archivos, Bibliotecas y Museos 31 (1914): pp.
448-451, doc. VII. About the surviving panels from
the altarpiece in Barcelona, see Francesc Ruiz, “El
retaule de sant Agustí de Jaume Huguet. Un referent
singular en l’art pictòric català del darrer quatrecents,” Quaderns de Vilaniu 37 (2000): pp. 3-40.
See Alberto Velasco, “Pintura tardogòtica a l’Aragó
i Catalunya: Pere Garcia de Benavarri,” (PhD diss.,
Universitat de Lleida, 2015), pp. 83-103; Alberto
Velasco, “Some questions about the Flemish model
in Aragonese painting (1440-1500),” forthcoming.
Joan Molina, “Atribuido a Jaume Huguet. El profeta
Daniel,” in Cataluña medieval, exh. cat. (Barcelona:
Generalitat de Catalunya, 1992), pp. 294-295;
Milagros Guardia, “Cap del profeta Daniel,” in
Jaume Huguet. 500 anys, pp. 222-223.
These paintings now are part of a fictitious set
remodelled in all probability in the seventeenth
century. The attribution has been defended by
Guadaira Macías, “Noves aportacions al catàleg de
dos mestres aragonesos anònims. El Mestre de Sant
Jordi i la princesa i el Mestre de Sant Bartomeu,”
Butlletí del Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya 11 (2010):
pp. 38-40, figs. 4-5. Previously, I related them to the
circle of Miguel Ximénez or to Arnau de Castellnou
de Navailles, thinking that the latter could be
one of the leading candidates to be the Master of
Saint George and the Princess, although we did
not present the argument in detail. See Alberto
Velasco, “Revisant Pere Garcia de Benavarri. Noves
precisions a l’etapa saragossana,” Locus Amoenus 8
(2005-2006): p. 85.
33.
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40.
Rosa Alcoy defends the attribution of the prophet
in the Museo del Prado to the Master of Alloza, a
proposal with which I do not agree (Alcoy, San Jorge,
p. 155). On the other hand, the prophet has evident
analogies with a counterpart on the guardapolvo of
the altarpiece in Ejea de los Caballeros (illustrated
in María del Carmen Lacarra, Blasco de Grañén,
pintor de retablos (1422-1459) (Saragossa: Institución
“Fernando el Católico”, 2004), p. 85, fig. 35), which
certainly shows that the painter exists within the
same figurative culture as Martín de Soria (Alcoy, San
Jorge, p. 176), the author of this part of the altarpiece
in Ejea.
Chritie’s Old Master Pictures Sale, New York, 31
October 2017, lot 4, with an attribution to the
Master of Morata. According to the auction house,
the panel came from a collection in Florida.
Post, The Aragonese School, p. 407, fig. 186. A
photograph of the work is kept at the Institut
Amatller d’Art Hispànic in Barcelona (negative
number Mas C-3332), and was taken when it was
part of the Vilallonga Collection. It is also published
in Ana Galilea, La pintura gótica española en el Museo de
Bellas Artes de Bilbao (Bilbao: Museu de Bellas Artes
de Bilbao, 1995), p. 174, fig. 98, where the author
notes that it had been on the art market in Paris.
Also see Macías, “La pintura aragonesa,” pp. 435436, fig. 332, where she lists it in “la pintura sorgida
de l’entorn de Calatayud i Daroca a la segona
meitat del segle XV” (the painting developed in the
surroundings of Calatayud and Daroca in the second
half of the fifteenth century), without detailing any
specific attribution.
Stefanos Kroustallis, Marisa Gómez González,
Matilde Miquel Juan, Rocío Bruquetas Galán and
Olga Pérez Monzón, “Gilding in Spanish panel
painting from the fifteenth and early sixteenth
centuries,” Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies (2016):
pp. 1-31, accessed 1 December 2017, DOI:
10.1080/17546559.2016.1230273. See also Alberto
Velasco, Virgin and Child with Musician Angels. The
Master of Belmonte and Late Gothic Aragonese Painting
(Buenos Aires: Jaime Eguiguren, 2017), pp. 94-155.
Tamara A. González and Consuelo Dalmau, “Las
cuñas de madera en la pintura sobre tabla: presencia
y procedencia,” in Afilando el pincel, dibujando la voz.
Prácticas pictóricas góticas, eds. Matilde Miquel, Olga
Pérez, and Pilar Martínez (Madrid: Ediciones
Complutense, 2017), pp. 15-30.
Institut Amatller d’Art Hispànic in Barcelona,
negative number: Espinal 41.
For this collector, see Bonaventura Bassegoda,
“Marian Espinal (1897-1974). Pintor y
coleccionista,” in Nuevas contribuciones en torno al mundo
del coleccionismo de arte hispánico en los siglos XIX y XX,
eds. Immaculada Socias and Dimitra Gkozgkou
(Gijón: Trea, 2013), pp. 53-62.
The first mention is in Galilea, La pintura gótica, p.
170, where it appears as the work of an anonymous
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Aragonese painter. See also Alcoy, San Jorge, p. 147,
n. 214, but here she only establishes an iconographic
parallel with one of the panels in Alloza, without
any comments about style. Another reference is
in Macías, “Noves aportacions,” p. 60, n. 58, also
without any concrete attribution.
On Bernardo de Arás, see Didier Martens, “Una
huella de Rogier van der Weyden en la obra de
Bernart d’Aras, ‘pintor vecino de la ciudat de
Huesca’,” Archivo Español de Arte 81 (2008): pp. 1-18;
Macías, “La pintura aragonesa,” pp. 200-211, figs.
151-156. Taking into account the scarce catalogue
of works given to this painter, I take this opportunity
to add a Lamentation Before the Dead Christ recently
auctioned in Paris (Cornette de Saint Cyr maison
de ventes, Collection Marie Laforet: Dessins et Tableaux
Anciens - Sculptures Ethnographie - Mobiliers et Objets d’Art,
28 November 2017, lot number 451, 86 x 66 cm,
attributed to the circle of Jaume Huguet), and also a
Resurrection on the art market in Barcelona (Galeria
Bernat, 74 x 62 cm).
Macías, “La pintura aragonesa”, p. 210. In addition
to the additions that pointed out by Macías, I note
some strips of wood added to the panels at the sides
and top; these are clearly detectable both on the
front and on the back.
The joins were filled with wooden wedges, as can be
seen on the back of one of the panels.
The gilded background was one of the techniques
Hispanic painters of the late Middle Ages used most
often to convey magnificence. In the Crown of Aragon,
its use continued during the late Gothic period, even
when large landscape backgrounds started to become
popular following Flemish models. Fascination with
gold’s visual effects and suggestion of wealth often led
to its prevailing over the representation of nature which
was not part of the local tradition. This went hand in
hand with a techniques enabling the use gold to create
contrasts, plays of light, and perception of relief and
depth. See the numerous examples quoted in Velasco,
Virgin and Child, p. 94 and ff.
It is plausible that at that time the strips of wood and
gold frames were added.
Macías, “La pintura aragonesa,” p. 210.
Rosa Alcoy, “Retaule de l’Epifani,” in Jaume Huguet.
500 anys, pp. 202-205.
Post, The Aragonese School, pp. 372 and 376, fig. 167.
In a more recent publication, it is linked to an
anonymous Spaniard from the sixteenth century. See
Herman Vandormael, Château de Gaasbeek, (Brussels:
Credit Communal, 1988): pp. 107-108. The panel is
not in its original frame.
Nuria Ortiz, “Martín Bernat. Saint Sebastian,”
Spanish Painting (Madrid: Coll & Cortés Fine Arts,
2012): pp. 26-35. Strangely, Ortiz did not include
this painting in her monograph dedicated to the
painter. See Nuria Ortiz, Martín Bernat, pintor de retablos,
documentado en Zaragoza entre 1450 y 1505, (Saragossa:
Institución “Fernando el Católico”, 2013).

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