Danae from Mabuse

Danae from Mabuse
Danae from Mabuse

Another of the great painters of the Netherlands who traveled to Italy to see firsthand what thewas assuming Renaissance art was Jan Gossaert, who has passed into posterity under the name of Mabuse. A Flemish master who traveled toRomein the year 1508, and what he saw there would forever change the way he painted, as well as that of many other contemporary artists and compatriots of him.


Danae de Mabuse

A good example is this painting that he painted in 1527 and which is now part of the collection of theAlte Pinacoteca in Munich, in Germany.

It is a work in which he introduces us toDanae, a protagonist originating in Greco-Latin mythology, while his most usual painting always had a religious character with works such as The Adoration of the Magi

Without a doubt, the reason for painting a mythological character like Danae, already relates it to Italian Renaissance painting. But the architectural background where he places it, which is clearly inspired byclassical stylebuildings, also immediately attracts attention. Something that attracted a lot of attention in its time, since as a general rule the Flemish painting of the XV and XVI centuries is always set in settings dominated by Gothic architectureprevailing in those lands of northern Europe.

NoHowever, there are many other elements that link this Mabuse painting with the Renaissance aesthetic. Without a doubt, from what he saw in Italy, the artist has learned the theory of perspective, as well as the sense of light and even the air of monumentality that he is capable of giving to this woman.

Although it must be said that this artist also knew how to drink from other sources of inspiration, some more local such as the paintings of the Dutchman Lucas de Leiden. And others of great influence in northern Europe, such as the engravings of the German Albert Dürer.

However, it is clear that he had been passionate about Italian art, and certainly the composition of this work shows it. We see that everything is located in the space of an architectural exedra, whose shape is well marked by columns that open on the classic plinths with windows to the urban exterior. All that setting is the most Renaissance. It is as if the way of painting of the great Italian artists had captivated him. But despite this he is still a greatFlemish painter, and that is absolutely clear with the figure of Danae.

It is true that she is a mythological character, but her appearance has much more to do with the Flemish virgins, such as Mabuse's own Virgin and Child, than with the Italian representations of Danae, who usually appears lying down and who we have the most splendid example in which the Venetian painted Titian.

Popular topic