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Johan Maelwael (c. 1370–1415) is the first known painter of the Netherlands. Over 600 years ago he was one of the most successful masters in Western Europe. Maelwael grew up in the Netherlands’ oldest town, Nijmegen, in the Duchy of Guelders. He experienced his heyday around 1400 in Dijon, then one of Europe’s leading artistic centres. As a preferred court painter and valet de chambre of the powerful Dukes of Burgundy, Philip the Bold and John the Fearless, Maelwael produced a varied and influential oeuvre.
To reconstruct the context in which Maelwael's art originated, the paintings associated with him are presented alongside a wealth of unique medieval art treasures, including paintings, richly decorated manuscripts, precious metalwork, and sculptures by accomplished contemporaries such as his nephews the consummate Limbourg brothers, and his accomplished contemporaries Jean de Beaumetz, André Beauneveu, Henri Bellechose, Colart de Laon, Elyas Scerpswert, Claes Sluter, and Claes de Werve. They afford an image of the wide range of artistic practices in which Maelwael was trained and worked. The sheer beauty and profound mystical significance of these centuries-old objects have not diminished over time, and will continue to astonish and intrigue a modern audience.
This book explores Maelwael’s life, his work, and his place in history and serves as an introduction to this talented and versatile artist for enthusiastic laymen, and also offers fresh stylistic and technical insights to specialists.
Winner FILAF 2018 Artbook competition, category Fine Arts.