Colnaghi Foundation Journal 02 - Page 118

Rediscovering the Master of the Saint George and the Princess: new paintings
Rediscovering the Master of the Saint George and the Princess: new paintings
representative,5 for example at the Museu Nacional
d’Art de Catalunya where it has iconic status. The
historiographic fortune of the work has also been
exceptional, and it is one of few Hispanic works
that has its own monograph analyzing it from
different points of view.6
the antiquarian who had bought it in order to satisfy
Cabot’s desire to own it. In return Cabot gave the
Junta de Museus a Gothic painting which possessed
its own critical fortune in erudite Barcelona circles,4
fulfilling the needs of an organization that had a policy
of acquisitions particularly focused on great works of
medieval Catalan art.
Figs. 2a & 2b / Master of Saint
George and the Princess, Saint
John the Baptist and Donor,
Saint Louis of Toulouse and
Donor, formerly in Berlin, Kaiser
Friedrich Museum.
Fig. 3 / Master of Saint George
and the Princess, Saint Peter
and Saint John the Evangelist,
Saint Paul and Saint James,
formerly in Berlin, Kaiser
Friedrich Museum.
The painting continued to gain prestige among
specialists and came to be seen as especially
representative of the work of Jaume Huguet. This
was further enhanced by the work’s theme, a popular
legend in the Crown of Aragon, and its dedication
to the patron saint of Catalonia. The peculiar
aesthetics of the work also attracted attention, with its
unfinished appearance and the contrasting heads of
figures creating a melancholy mood; in addition the
subject of a medieval knight and a princess recalled
a glorious era for Catalonia, an era of chivalric deeds
and courtly love. These factors helped to create an
almost mythical aura about the panel, making it one
of the most widely-reproduced works of Catalan
Gothic painting and considered one of the most
The Saint George and the Princess is a panel from an
altarpiece broken up in the nineteenth century. As
noted above, other sections survived in the Kaiser
Friederich Museum in Berlin until the Second
World War when they were destroyed by fire along
with the rest of the museum. The origin of the
ensemble is unknown, but there was from an early
date speculation that it may have been of Aragonese
provenance, based on similarities with the works
of such painters as Martín de Soria, as well as a
tradition that it came from the area of Roda de
Isábena (Huesca).7 The relationship between the
panel from Barcelona and those from Berlin was
proposed by Émile Bertaux, just as it was being
attributed to Jaume Huguet, and it was considered
that the three panels could have formed a triptych.8
The sections in Berlin showed the donors of the
altarpiece, a man and a woman reminiscent of Van
Eyck, together with Saint John the Baptist and Saint
Louis of Toulouse, respectively (figs. 2a & 2b).9 On
the back of the panel of the male donor were Saints
Peter and John the Evangelist, and of the female
donor, Saints Paul and James, both sets of figures
painted in grisaille (fig. 3).10
In the monograph that Benjamin Rowland
dedicated to Huguet in 1932, both the Saint George
and the Princess and the panels from Berlin were
definitively given to this Catalan painter.11 However,
it was only with the monograph that Josep Gudiol
Ricart and Joan Ainaud de Lasarte dedicated to the
master in 1948 that the panels were more widely
accepted as a fundamental part of Huguet’s ouvre.


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