Among his first work documented, the imposing Saint Michael triumphant over the devil with Antoni Joan, of 1468, which is exposed for the first time in Spain, from The National Gallery in london, until his last piece, the Mercy Desplà (1490), brought from the cathedral of Barcelona, Bartolomé de Cárdenas, Bartolomé Bermejo, as he was known, deployed “a pictorial language that transcends age.” “That’s why he was a genius,” noted Joan Molina Figueras, the curator of the exhibition this Monday and with that the Prado Museum seeks to alleviate the scarce presence in its programming of “Spanish painting medieval”, as acknowledged by the director of the art gallery, Miguel Falomir. They both agreed in lift him as “the best Spanish painter of the FIFTEENTH century”.

Special details | Bartolomé Bermejo “Smith is one of the most known painters of the FIFTEENTH century european” Bartolomé Bermejo and the art of painting

This first monographic exhibition that the Prado, in collaboration with the National Museum of Art of Catalonia (MNAC), dedicated to a Spanish masters of the Quattrocento, from 9 October to 27 January 2019, brings together 50 works, of which 27 are of this artist —the rest are teachers with which he worked, plus a few copies—, a catalog reduced, but “that resists the comparison with the european masters of his time,” said Molina, a historian of the medieval art of the University of Girona. The unique Bermejo assimilated the style of the powerful flemish school of artists such as Jan van Eyck, who visited Spain, or Hans Memling, thanks, perhaps, to his contact with the burgeoning market of bourgeois of the fairs of works of art.

Molina also stressed his “virtuosity and the extraordinary mastery of the technique of Bermejo”, which is already visible in the San Miguel, the archangel who represented with their coat bermeja floating and golden armor with highlights and reflections. “As if it were the medieval knight Tirant lo Blanc”. This San Miguel de figure the winding is ready to download with his sword the punishment on a demon, crazy, fantastic, with four eyes, two of them in the nipples, which is at his feet. Complete this work the figure of the customer, the merchant, Antoni Joan Tous, who paid for the work, portrayed pious, that did not prevent him from exercising of pirate that haunted ships of the genoese.

The life of this artist (h. 1440-h. 1501) that it signed in a billetito your San Miguel, a practice rare among the spaniards, was remarkably eventful. Born in Córdoba, his condition judeoconverso marked his career. Had to nomadear by cities of the former Crown of Aragon: Valencia, Daroca, Zaragoza and Barcelona, where he died, to avoid the Inquisition. Although he devoted himself to religious painting, which was what I had by the orders of ecclesiastics and nobles, and included in some of the paintings details heterodox, as in his Christ of the Mercy, under a delicate chiffon, entrevén the genitals of Jesus. The climate of religious intolerance is also chased to his wife, the wealthy Grace of Palaciano, condemned by the Inquisión aragon: “you did Not know the Creed and practiced ceremonies judaizers,” said the court.

Perhaps they feel always observed, Bermejo showed a personality problem. “Your foreign status forced him, following the guild rules, to partner with local teachers to be able to run your work, but on many occasions these artists were very inferior to him”, explained the commissioner. “Other, collided with those who commissioned the works because they had a vision very conservative.”

expand photo ‘Saint Michael triumphant over the devil with Antoni Joan de Tous’. THE NATIONAL GALLERY

The best example of their arguments occupies a central place in the exhibition. It is the only red painted only by him who owns the Meadow. The monumental Santo Domingo de Silos enthroned as a bishop (1474-77), altarpiece for the town of Daroca which only made the central table, so that he failed to fulfill the contract which read: “That Bartolomé Bermejo have to swear before a notary public, on the cross, and the saints four gospels, and you will be able to receive sentence of excommunication”. That’s what happened. “We may not agree on the compensation,” notes Molina. This did not prevent him from attaining “a hypnotic effect of reality and fiction, playing with the architecture of the altarpiece”.

On other occasions, the contracts show that he was respected and admired. It was the artist who took the ten chosen to decorate the cathedral of Zaragoza. Even ordered the purchase of a lock for the room in which he worked in the decoration of the doors of the reredos. Thus is avoided that no one molestase.

the end of the exhibition Bartolomé Bermejo is for the Molina qualifies “as his masterpiece,” the Piety Desplà, restored a couple of years ago thanks to the Fundación Banco Sabadell. Bermejo transforms the traditional reason for the pain of the Virgin with the dead body of jesus Christ in his lap, “a visual feast”. There in a corner a flood and in the other a sunrise over Jerusalem. The artist portrays the right-to-Lluís Desplà, the archdeacon of barcelona, which commissioned the work, and that the conditioned in its composition to the point that Molina thought it was “made to two hands”. For all of the oil will display up to 73 species of plants and animals, a feast for the viewer to of then and of today see the virtuosity of this creator, little-known, forgotten after his death until the early TWENTIETH century, and with the that the field you want to close these centuries of ingratitude.

to build bridges with Catalonia

The director of the Museum of the Prado, Miguel Falomir, and gave thanks, during the presentation of the exhibition on Bartolomé Bermejo, the institutions that have made this possible, especially the National Museum of Art of Catalonia (MNAC). “If the culture tends bridges, the museums are excellent engineers of roads,” said Falomir in allusion to the question of independence in Catalonia. Josep Serra, head of the MNAC, added that “this is an example of how the culture works crosswise”.

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.