A special talent of Bernart van Orley was the ability to combine different artistic trends in one new visual language. He followed the traditions of the Flemish primitivists, but added new elements. Albrecht Dürer, whom Van Orley met in 1520, and the principles of the Italian Renaissance had a great influence on him. With them, the artist was familiar on the cards to tapestries by Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. These works were known in Brussels, because in the XVI century this city was the capital of carpet weaving in Europe.
Bernart van Orley, "Portrait of Joris van Celle" (1519). Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels
The unique style of Van Orley was quickly noticed by representatives of the highest aristocracy. Margaret of Austria, who ruled the Netherlands from Mechelen, appointed him a court painter. She ordered several important portraits for the painter, thus marking the beginning of his career. Subsequently, Van Orley came into contact with the cosmopolitan court of her nephew Charles V on the Hill of Kudenberg in Brussels, which then became the center of European power.
The works of Bernart van Orley reinforced the images of these rulers. Over time, his interest shifted from paintings to tapestries and stained glass windows, which were valued higher. Tapestries were real masterpieces. Their huge size, expensive materials (gold, silver, silk) and bright colors created a striking effect that emphasized the splendor and status of the yard.
Talent for innovations made Bernart van Orley one of the key historical figures in the art world, thanks to which the Northern Renaissance was formed. But, despite the steady reputation and presence of his works in the largest collections, not a single serious monograph devoted to the work of the painter was released. The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, the Museum of Art and History of Brussels and BOZAR have teamed up to embody this project.The Louvain Mother of GodBernart van Orley1520, 45 × 39 cmThe exhibition sheds light on a wide range of topics and techniques, thanks to which the artist made a name for himself. In addition to the paintings, the exhibition presents a wide overview of tapestries, drawings and stained glass windows. The exhibits reveal the various manifestations of Bernart van Orley - from the head of the workshop, who solved everyday issues, to the court artist.
The focus is on two wall carpets from the “Hunting of Charles V” series, rented from the Louvre in Paris, and a tapestry from the “Battle of Pavia” series, borrowed from the Capodimonte Museum in Naples. Of the other two collections - including the Metropolitan Museum in New York - two extremely well-designed sketches for the now lost wall carpets commissioned by the court of Nassau came.The Martyrdom of St. John the BaptistBernart van Orley1519, 64.5 × 74.2 cmJohan IV of Nassau and his wife Maria van Loon-HeinsbergBernart van Orley1530, 34.9 × 49.1 cmCount Otto from Nassau and his wife Adelheid van VianenBernart van Orley1535, 35.6 × 48.3 cmThe birth and birth of St. John the BaptistBernart van Orley1515, 63.5 × 76.2 cmTriptych of HanetonaBernart van OrleyThe beginning of the XVI centuryHoly FamilyBernart van Orley1531, 107 × 89 cmMadonna and Child surrounded by saintsBernart van Orley1520-e, 69.7 × 75.7 cmMaria HanetonBernart van Orley1519, 75.2 × 56.2 cm On the occasion of the exhibition for the first time in a long time, fragments that were once a single piece were reunited. For example, this is the altar of St. John the Baptist from the Metropolitan Museum, which is now installed next to its second half, now stored in a private collection. Finally, the exhibition presents many works on paper by masters who influenced Bernart van Orley - Andrea Mantegna, Durer and Raphael.
The exhibition “Bernart van Orley. Brussels and Renaissance "at the BOZAR Center for Fine Arts is open until May 26. According to Brussels Express