Flemish painter of religious works and portraits characterized by their gentle, sweet tranquillity.
Hans Memling was born in Seligenstadt, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and became a citizen of Brugge (Bruges) in 1465. Little is known of his training, although it appears he was strongly influenced by the style of the Flemish master Rogier van der Weyden, especially in his love of delicate detail and his fine precise drawing. Hans Memling's work consists primarily of altarpieces, devotional diptychs and triptychs, and portraits. His compositions representing the Madonna in sumptuous backgrounds often include representations of saints, portraits of donors, or detailed landscapes. His style changed little throughout most of his career; typical works such as The Virgin and the Child with Saints and Donors (1475, National Gallery, London), and the Marriage of Saint Catherine (1479, Memling Museum, Brugge) are characterized by an overall delicacy and harmony that result from a symmetrically balanced composition; clear, even lighting; and a masterly deployment of colors ranging from rich golds, reds, and blues to subtle halftones. Memling's figures radiate an attitude of quiet devotion rather than the intense fervor found in the works of his contemporaries.
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