Colnaghi Foundation Journal 02 - Page 117

Rediscovering the Master of the Saint George
and the Princess: new paintings
The Master of Saint George and the Princess is one of
the most enigmatic figures of Late Gothic painting in
the Crown of Aragon. The present article will present
a number of unpublished paintings by this master
(some of which have only recently appeared on the
market), as well as other works which are better known
but not as yet attributed to him.1 Although the location
of his workshop is not known, it can be assumed that
this must have been Saragossa, the capital of Aragon.
He is known to have worked on one occasion for the
monastery of San Pedro de Siresa (Huesca), located
in the Pyrenees, as well as for the Cabrera family, an
important lineage originating in Catalonia; it was for
this family that he produced the Altarpiece of Saint George
and the Princess (fig. 1), the work from which his current
appellation derives. Only one section of this altarpiece
is conserved in the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.
Other sections, which were destroyed in a fire in 1945
at the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin, are known
only from photographs. Lastly, he is recognized as the
author of a small panel of the Prophet Daniel, today kept
in the Museo del Prado.
Fig. 1 / Master of Saint George
and the Princess, Saint George
and the Princess, tempera
on panel, 90 x 58.5 x 2.3 cm,
Barcelona, Museu Nacional
d’Art de Catalunya.
It is perhaps surprising that a painter about whom so
little is known and by whom so few works are conserved
can be considered one of the main representatives of
Late Gothic in the Crown of Aragon. This question
will be answered in the following pages by means of an
outline of the historiography about – and mythification
of – the painter, and of the incorporation into his
catalogue of a series of new works. Some of these
paintings are unpublished and have not until now been
related to the author of the Altarpiece of Saint George
and the Princess. Others, although published, have not
been included in the artist’s catalogue. In other words,
this essay will focus on works that have so far received
little attention and which have been linked in general
terms to other painters from the same environment.
The resulting expansion of the oeuvre of the Master
of Saint George and the Princess clarifies our view of
this figure and provides a better understanding of his
trajectory and relevance.
On 11 July 1923 the Junta de Museus de Barcelona
gave the collector Emili Cabot (1854-1924) a sixteenthcentury Catalan glazed and enamelled jar and 20,000
pesetas, and in return received a fifteenth-century
painting representating Saint George and the Princess
(Barcelona, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, inv.
15868.90 x 58.5 x 2.3 cm) (see fig. 1). The painting was
attributed at that time to the Catalan painter Jaume
Huguet (doc. 1412-1492), and until then had been
the property of the collector.2 This was an unusual
operation that can only be understood in the context
of a very specific moment in Catalan collecting at the
beginning of the twentieth century. On the one hand,
Huguet was beginning to be seen as the great Catalan
painter of the fifteenth century, a period which was
itself causing a sensation among the Catalan cultural
elite.3 On the other, Catalan enamelled glassware of
the sixteenth century, of great beauty and technical
perfection, were especially valued by Catalan and
foreign collectors. The jar in question had been for
sale in Paris, and the Junta de Museus acquired it from


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