The years around 1470 were the most prosperous in the life of this painter, a man who was cited among the wealthy citizens of Bruges. http://www.kmska.be/en/ Hans Memling had its prosperity to the great number of his patrons. In this period, one third of the artist’s works are portraits. The popularity of his portraits was due to the personal touch style. Also Italian clientele had appreciated his portraits. The panoramic views, enhances the contrast between close up and far away, (creating a strong spatial suggestion).
A man is sitting in front of a extended landscape, where you can observe swans, a man on a horse and a palm tree. This is a fine example of his portraits (now in the collection of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp), painted around 1473. http://www.kmska.be/en/collectie/highlights/Man_munt.html His portraits there are special, because he was one of the first painters to add a background to his portraits. Dressed in a black coat with a white collar and a black bonnet, a man is looking at the spectator. As you can observe, in his hand there is a coin. Near the bottom edge of the painting, he painted laurel leaves.
The merchants who used to live and work in Bruges, were eager to have themselves immortalised, as in this portrait. http://www.kmska.be/en/bezoek/ The life of man in that picture (oil on panel, 30.7 x 23.2 x 0.6 cm), is represented by Hans Memling, and it was a life that revolved around Flanders and the Florence of Leonardo da Vinci (where there lived a woman named Ginevra de ‘Benci). On his return from Flanders, a merchant named Bernardo Bembo fell in love with this young woman from Florence. The identity of the man portrayed was an enigma, but the mystery has since been resolved. He was Bernardo Bembo, a Florentine humanist who spent some time in Bruges, just yesterday, in 1473.
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