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Entre vérité historique et dévotion : Madones de saint Luc mises en scène dans deux tableaux flamands de la Première Renaissance

Didier Martens

Published online:

01 Apr 2018



Circa 1515 –1520, Josse van Cleve painted a St Jerome in the Wilderness (Muskegon Museum of Art) in which the saint is shown kneeling before an exemplar of the Aracoeli Madonna. Somewhat later, a follower of Barent van Orley introduced a version of the Madonna del Popolo into a representation of the Procession of Pope Gregory the Great (Brussels, Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts). This phenomenon of displaying Byzantine icons in Flemish religious pictures must be investigated in the context of a new pursuit of historical authenticity during the period, something typical of the Italian Renaissance. It also served to legitimize devotion to the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary, a cult recently established in the Netherlands that relied strongly on ‘true portraits’, believed to have been painted by Saint Luke. Josse van Cleve’s Muskegon panel may have been ordered by a member of the Antwerp Confraternity of the Seven Sorrows.

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