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Altarpiece of the Epipha...
Room 10



Gothic

Jaume Huguet

Altarpiece of the Epiphany

Barcelona
Around 1450
Tempera on wood
122 x 75 cm
Provenance unknown
MEV 817

According to the documentary sources it seems that the young Jaume Huguet started out as a painter by the side of his uncle Pere Huguet who worked professionally in the Tarragona workshop of Mateu Ortoneda. In 1448 he set up his home in Barcelona, where he came into contact with the realistic 'ars nova' of Flemish influence, especially of the pictorial school of Jan van Eyck, made fashionable a few years earlier by the painter Lluís Dalmau with the altarpiece of the Virgin of the Councillors in the chapel of the Casa de la Ciutat in Barcelona, now in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. The Epiphany altarpiece is a small altarpiece for a private oratory that entered the Museu Episcopal de Vic at the end of the 19th century. At the top the Archangel Gabriel, with a phylactery with the beginning of his greeting “Ave gratia plena”, appears to the Virgin Mary, kneeling in her scriptorium, to announce to her the conception of the baby Jesus. Below there is the scene of the Calvary in the foreground with the idealised city of Jerusalem in the background, with the figures of Christ on the cross, Mary, Saint John the Evangelist and two donors presented by Saint Anthony the Abbot and a female saint. The Flemish imprint on this work from Jaume Huguet's youth is seen with the pictorial option of abandoning the gilt backgrounds of the scenes in order to be able to paint a landscape treated in a very detailed way, as if it were a miniature. This same realistic influence is seen in the clothing worn by the Three Kings and their entourage, dressed according to the fashion prevailing in Burgundy at the time. Notice the shoes they are wearing, black pointed boots mounted on wooden clogs. The fascination aroused by the contemplation of this little masterpiece by Huguet is also due to the fact that despite the Flemish realism dominating the work we can already appreciate the new naturalist humanism typical of Huguet's style, characterised, according to Duran i Sampere, by the tone of intimacy and silent dialogue that the figures take on.


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