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
associated with this which could have been the
recipients of a votive plaque or an epitaph monument
were destroyed in 1581 by the Calvinists. The drawing
would thus be a rare witness to an original work
that has disappeared, and an important document
for the study of models of funerary monuments and
their creators. Little has been written on this subject,
although we know that the models on paper for these
were mainly done by painters. For example, Hugo van
der Goes and Pierre Pourbus are listed in the archives
as having delivered studies for copper monuments in
Bruges (fig. 19).31
The Master of the Legend of Saint Barbara, who
belonged to the circle of artists surrounding Hugo van
der Goes, is thought by several art historians to have
done studies for monumental brasses.32 Some drawings
from his studio, such as the one in Berlin, are thought to
be studies for funerary monuments.33 Nothing precludes
him from being the author of the Bacri drawing,
especially since he is documented during the last third
of the fifteenth century, the suggested timeframe for
the drawing, further corroborated by the watermark
present in the portraits in Bruges to which the Bacri
drawing is directly related, as well as by the garments
worn by all the characters.
Finally, the obvious stylistic analogies shared by the
master of the Bacri drawing with the works attributed
to the Master of the Legend of Saint Barbara and his
entourage justify, I believe, his inclusion in the Brussels
School on the basis that collaboration with other artistic
centres, like Bruges, was frequent.
Fig. 18a / Detail of the
morphology of the face of Saint
Barbara in Fig. 13b.
Fig. 18b / Detail of the
morphology of the faces of
Saint Anne and the Virgin in
Fig. 1.
Fig. 19 / Hugo van der Goes
(attr.), Angel Carrying a Shield,
probably from the funerary
monument of Jan Wielant,
ca. 1519, copper plate, 150 x
85 cm, Bruges, Saint Jacques
church. Rubbing by R. Van Belle.
As a great art lover, he could have commissioned a
work featuring himself while renouncing the badge,
his new function no longer allowing him to wear an
honorific collar of Scottish origin.
In conclusion, to return to the hypotheses concerning
the function of the Bacri drawing, a first idea would be
to see it as a project for a tapestry for his mansion. A
second, stemming from the iconography, would be to
see it as a study for a funerary monument. This could
have been either a memorial brass, a painted or carved
epitaph-altarpiece that Anselme or his son would have
ordered as a memorial, or even a votive monument
related to the worship of Saint Anne to offer to the
brotherhood. As things stand, there is not yet sufficient
evidence to confirm or dismiss one hypothesis in
favour of the other. Both functions fit perfectly into
traditions of patronage and love of art characteristic
of the Adornes family.30 Nevertheless, I am inclined
to favour the possibility of a study for a funerary
monument, given the specifics of the layout of the part
of the drawing that has survived.
No tapestry with the effigy of Anselme Adornes
associated with an image of devotion to the Trinity of
Saint Anne has been found and the religious buildings
One point is clear in all the hypotheses put forward:
the authenticity of the drawings in Paris and Bruges is
unquestionable in view of their style, the technique of
their execution, and their historical context. Considering
its quality, the Bacri drawing deserves, like the two
Bruges drawings of Anselme Adornes and his wife, to
be taken into account as part of the corpus of Flemish
drawings of the late fifteenth century. Let us hope
that the future discovery of still unpublished period
drawings or unknown commemorative works brings
a final answer to the questions raised here, questions
which are deliberately bold in order to encourage future
researchers to pursue cross-sectional studies.34


Powered by

Full screen Click to read
Paperturn flip book
Download as PDF
Shopping cart
Full screen
Exit full screen