28 Jan 2016

Getty’s Major New Acquisition

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[T]he Getty Museum has acquired an illuminated copy of the Book of Deeds of Jacques de Lalaing (c. 1530s). It includes a frontispiece by Simon Bening that (judging from the press images) rivals the best paintings of the Flemish Renaissance. The book’s primary author, Jean Lefèvre de Saint-Remy, is shown in his study. Within this image, about 8 inches high, Bening looks forward to such Netherlandish specialties as portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and genre scenes. It’s also a menagerie of sorts, with a dog, peacock, dappled horse, and chained pet monkey.

That’s the only Bening, but the Book of Deeds has 17 other miniatures by an artist assigned to the circle of the Master of Charles V. These show the adventures of knight errant Jacques de Lalaing. A famed tournament fighter and favorite of Philip the Good, he became one of the first Europeans to be killed by firearms. … Philip was so distraught at the loss of his knight that he ordered everyone in Poeke Castle hanged—sparing only children, priests, and lepers.


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