Memling, Hans or Jan

Memling, Hans Or Jan a celebrated Flemish painter, was born at Constanz in 1439, according to Dr. Boisseree, but other authorities, among whom may be cited Mrs. Heaton, assert positively that his birthplace was Bruges, and that he was born in 1430. There was for a long time a fierce controversy as to this painter's name, some writers insisting that it should be written Hemling or Hemmelinck, and that he was of German origin; there is, however, very little reason for doubting that Memling was the real name of the painter whose works adorn the Chapel of St. John at Bruges. There is but little known of his life; he appears to have lived some years in Spain, and is supposed to have visited Italy and Germany-certainly Cologne; he is also said to have served Charles the Bold of Burgundy, both as. painter and as warrior. He was admitted, wounded and destitute, into the Hospital of St. John at Bruges, a religious institution, in which none but inhabitants of Bruges were entered (which fact is also given to prove that he was born in Bruges), and, upon recovering, painted, from gratitude at his kind treatment, the beautiful picture of Sibyl Zambeth. There are a number of works of art in this hospital by Memling, prominent among which is the history, in minute figures, of St. Ursula, the virgin saint of Cologne, and her companions, exquisitely painted in oil in many compartments, upon a relic case of Gothic design, known as La Chasse de Ste. Ursule. Memling painted also during his stay at this hospital the Adoration of the Magi, the large altar-piece of the Marriage of St. Catharine, the Madonna and Child, and a Descent from the Cross. Nine pictures by Memling are in the Munich Gallery, among which the greatest are, Israelites collecting Manna, St. Christopher carrying the infant Christ, Abraham and Melchizedek, the Seizure of Christ in the Garden, a Saicta Veronica or Face of Christ, the Joys and Sorrows of the Virgin, and the Journey of the three Kings of the East. Rathgeber enumerates over one hundred works which are attributed to Memling, but few of them, however, can be authenticated. He also decorated missals and other books of Church service, one of which is in the Library of St. Mark at Venice. Memling probably died in the year 1499, as an authentic document preserved in the records of the town of Bruges, dated in 1499, speaks of him as " the late Meestre Hans." See Mrs. Heaton, Masterpieces of Flemish Art (Lond. 1869, 4to); Kugler's Hand-book of Painting, transl. by Waagen (Lond. 1860, 2 vols. 12mo); Mrs. Jameson, Legends of the Madonna, p. 19, 89, 105, 202, 304.

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