Uniquely presented: the book art of Simon Bening in a wooden frame as an altar for the Queen of Spain

Altarpiece of Joan the Mad

Ghent or Bruges (Flanders) — 16th century

Altarpiece of Joan the Mad

Altarpiece of Joan the Mad

Ghent or Bruges (Flanders) — 16th century

  1. A totally new style of manuscript art created through the artistic talents of Simon Bening (c. 1483-1561)

  2. The 9 parchment sheets are set in a gold-leaf frame creating a small, artful Retable

  3. The miniatures count among the best products of 16th century Flemish Art

Altarpiece of Joan the Mad

Alternative Titles:
  • Retablo de Juana la Loca
  • Retablo de Simon Bening
  • Retabel Johannas der Wahnsinnigen
  • Retabel von Simon Bening
  • Retable de Jeanne la Folle
  • Retablo di Giovanna la Pazza
  • Retábulo de Joana a Louca
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
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Price Category: €€€€€
Edition available
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The extraordinary Altarpiece of Joanna of Castile offers a totally new style of miniature art through the artistic talents of Simon Bening. Under the patronage of the important Joanna I of Castile, he finished 9 singular parchment pages, with wonderful wooden framework merged with a retable. These pages show scenes from the Life of Christ, from the proclamation of his birth up until the Crucifixion. With fine painting and filled with bright colors, the contained miniatures count among the best products of 16th Century Flemish Art.

Altarpiece of Joan the Mad

This work in extraordinary form offers a totally new style of manuscript art through the artistic talents of Simon Bening. Under the patronage of the important Joanna I of Castile, he finished 9 singular parchment pages, with wonderful wooden framework merged with a retable. These pages show scenes from the Live of Christ, from the proclamation of his birth up until his crucifixion. With fine painting and filled with bright colors, the contained miniatures count among the best products of 16th Century Flemish Art.

A Fateful Life

The miniatures of the retables are connected with the name of Joanna I of Castile, whose fateful life is still deeply tangible today. Joanna I of Castile (1479-1555), with the byname of “The Mad”, ruled as Queen of Castile, the central territory of a huge empire, which comprised of Naples-Sicily through all of Iberia, stemming then across the Atlantic to the New World discoveries. She was married to Phillip “The Handsome”of Austria, who was himself the son of Emperor Maximilian I. Through this marriage, the might of Austria and Spain was combined under the Habsburg Empire. Joanna’s name is essentially connected with all of the important figures of her time. Her brother Don Juan was later married to Phillip’s sister, Margarete of Austria, and Joanna’s son reigned as Emperor Charles V over the combined territory of Spain and Austria. She received her byname on the grounds of her fervid temperament and jealously, which plagued her in nervous fits throughout the rest of her life. After the death of Phillip, she was confined for 40 years in house-arrest in the Castle of Tordesillas near Valladolid.

Extraordinary Painting in an Unusual Frame

The wonderful Gouache on parchment are not typical hand drawn illustrations, but rather are embedded in a golden-leafed frame. In of this manner, a small, artful Retable came into being. With these Retables, sculptures, paintings, and an embroidered Altar are shown. Hence the artistic depictions of the Retables have biblical or generally sacred stories. The Retable of Joanna follows along this principle, as well. Simon Bening’s miniatures of the life of Christ offer the possibility to see and experience biblical stories in fantastic depth.

From the best Book Painter of his Time

The Flemish painter of the miniatures, Simon Bening, was the most successful and well-known Miniaturist of his time, and is generally accepted to be one the most important representatives of his subject. In the 16th Century, he completed works for many of the greats: from the kingly patron Charles V, as well as many costumers from the high aristocracy, whose names still reverberate today. The Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, to name an example. The indisputable master illuminator of the 16th century primarily made books of hours but also genealogical family trees, famously exemplified by those he painted for the royal families of Portugal and Spain.

An Exceptional Style

The Retable for Joanna I of Castile is collected within a 34 x 41 cm frame and contains nine wonderfully fine and striking depictions of the life of Christ. Beginning with the Annunciation of Mary and the search for lodging, the birth of Christ is the first story depicted. After which, one can see Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, the flagellation, and finally the Crucifixion. In the lower register of the painting, one can see an illustration of Christ’s resurrection before a group of followers. Simon Bening aimed to make the biblical stories appear exciting. For example, in his depiction of the Annunciation, there are columns surrounding an interior room laid out in a clever fashion. The heavenly angels with their wonderful, golden wings surprise the prayerful Mary as they suddenly appear. In addition to the architectural backgrounds, some of the scenes take place in the freedom of the outdoors. These include depictions of beautiful landscapes featuring fine or gnarled trees, lush green grass, and sloping hills. The detailed and creative design of the scenery is truly a marvel to look at. Simon Bening combined many typical attributes of 16th Century Flemish art within this impressive miniature of the Altarpiece of Joanna of Castile.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Retablo de Juana la Loca
Retablo de Simon Bening
Retabel Johannas der Wahnsinnigen
Retabel von Simon Bening
Retable de Jeanne la Folle
Retablo di Giovanna la Pazza
Retábulo de Joana a Louca
Size / Format
9 single leaves under wooden frame / 41.0 x 34.0 cm
Date
16th century
Artist / School
Previous Owners

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Altarpiece of Joan the Mad“

Retablo de Juana la Loca
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
Altarpiece of Joan the Mad – British Museum (London, United Kingdom) / Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain) / Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) / others
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Retablo de Juana la Loca

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia
Limited Edition
999 copies
Binding
Nine beautiful wash-drawing illustrations framed in an elegant altarpiece of aged wood and gold leaf
Price Category: €€€€€
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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