A lost fifteenth-century drawing rediscovered: Donors Kneeling in Adoration before the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
A lost fifteenth-century drawing rediscovered: Donors Kneeling in Adoration before the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
Further stylistic links between Anselme’s figure in the
Bruges drawing and that in the Paris drawing can be
identified. These include the precise pattern of the
voluminous drapery folds, some sharpened with an
energetic black line, the fall and similar shapes of the
fabric, and the donor’s doublet extending to touch
the base of the small column (figs. 9a & b). Finally,
there are the similarities described above, such as the
posture of the feudal lord and the detail and position of
the foot emerging from beneath the mantle. However,
in the drawings from Bruges – which function as a
vidimus for sculptures – Adornes’s foot and the bottom
of the drape are placed outside the frame of the niche
to indicate three-dimensionality. This is further proof
Fig. 8a / Detail of coat of arms
and acanthus leaves in Fig. 1.
Fig. 8b / Anonymous, detail
of coat of arms and acanthus
leaves in the funerary
monument of Jehan de
Liedekerke and Joanna de le
Douve, ca. 1519, copper plate,
244 x 136 cm, Bruges, Saint
Saviour's Cathedral.
trefoil arches adorned with leaves and topped with
high gables, and the drawing of the pinnacles and
ornaments. Blank shields are also included in the
drawings. In the Paris sheet, they are built into
quatrefoils placed at the ends and in the centre of the
left border; in the sheet from Bruges, they are placed
on the consoles. In both cases, large acanthus leaves
are used as decorative motifs; they are wrapped around
a rod in the frame of the Bacri drawing (fig. 8a) while
in the Bruges portraits, they surround the shields (see
fig. 2). It is interesting to note that in both drawings
the coats of arms are left unpainted, a common
practice in the fifteenth century when the depiction
of the emblem was entrusted either to a specialized
heraldic painter or to an artist in possession of an
example of the family coat of arms.
Fig. 9a / Detail of
drapery in Fig. 1.
Fig. 9b / Detail of
drapery in Fig. 2.
of an intention towards volumetric work. In the Paris
drawing, on the other hand, these same elements
remain internal to the composition.
What then differentiates the drawings in Paris and
Bruges, and what were their functions? Having
initially worked from a very poor reproduction
of the Bacri drawing provided by the Louvre’s
documentation service, examination of the original
in 2017 (see fig. 1) led me to rethink my working
hypothesis of a preparatory drawing for a tapestry.
This was based on several factors. The impression
of horror vacui that characterizes the composition is
typical of tapestry, as is the framing device of a wide


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