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Altarpiece of Saint Mary...
Room 9



Gothic

Bernat Martorell

Altarpiece of Saint Mary Magdalene from Perella

Barcelona
1437 - 1452
Tempera on wood
140 x 130 cm
From the church of Santa Magdalena in Perella, Sant Joan de les Abadesses (Ripollès)
MEV 47

The death of Lluís Borrassà in 1425 more or less coincided with the beginning of the artistic activity of Bernat Martorell who, from his workshop in Barcelona, was to introduce the stylistic innovations of the second phase of International Gothic which remained in force in Catalonia during the second quarter of the 15th century. The presence of Florentine artists in the city of Barcelona during the 1430s, plus the strong influence exerted by the painter Van Eyck and Flemish painting in the closing stages of his career, make it possible to relate his style to the International Gothic art of his time. The main innovation contributed by Bernat Martorell consists in having abandoned the excess of movements, gestures and contrasting colours of the scenic compositions of the painters of the previous generation in order to introduce a more serene, harmonious and balanced atmosphere. The incipient humanism that was beginning to impose itself on the European culture of the time is reflected in the painting of Martorell in the way he treats the faces of the figures. For the first time there appear figures with individualised psychological features with faces that reflect a human beauty different from that idealised beauty of the Italianate Gothic world of the 14th century. The small altarpiece from Santa Magdalena in Perella with scenes from the life of the saint corresponds to Martorell's final productive period, with the participation of several collaborators in his workshop. The technical mastery of manuscript illumination is made clear by the meticulous detail with which the landscape in the scene of the Assumption of Mary Magdalene is treated, similar to the landscape in the compartment of the predella with the Preaching of the Baptist from Vic Cathedral.


Room 9
Floor 1
9-10-11 Gothic Art
12-13-14 Renaissance
15-16 Textiles and Clothing
17 Glass