190109: Städel Museum: The Master of Flémalle and Rogier van der Weyden

Städel Museum: The Master of Flémalle and Rogier van der Weyden Altered master Just like everything that started out small and later became world famous, art history also has its heroic phase. And that was the time during which one categorized and determined masters and works en masse, and discovered documents, which enveloped the provenance and the attributions with the verisimilitude of an historic source. And at some point that time was over; the sources used had dried up. Nolens volens, as of that day, art history concentrated on the interpretation and sifting of explanations. Today only very few projects exist, which view their sources critically. The majority of art historical research involves coincidental encounters. Figurehead of this reorientation is Erwin Panofsky. He considered his publication “Early Netherlandish Painting” (1953) as his crowing achievement – and this brings us to our topic. Because Old Dutch masters are subject ad libitum to all kinds of interpretation. And that is exactly what the exhibition at the Frankfurt Städel Museum is doing - it is devoting itself to the chief witness of inaccuracy and nescience. Jochen Sander and Stefan Kemperdick were the curators, the same two men who had translated Panofsky’s magnum opus, which was published in 2001 by DuMont. Alone the fact that this unhistorical figure is denoted as the Master of Flémalle is an interpretation that cannot be justified by anything. The Städel Museum owns the main works by this Master of Flémalle and they are, of course, the core of this exhibit around which elevating works such as the “Mérode Altar” from the Metropolitan Museum and the “Miraflores –Altar” from Berlin are grouped, the latter being ascribed to Rogier van der Weyden - the other artist whose name was made part of the exhibition title. What can be seen at this presentation is indeed divergent. There is a lyrical, slightly sentimental Flémalle, and a strong, hands-on, creator of people, represented by the paragons of the Frankfurt collection. And this second Flémalle, who created the more attractive works, points forward to Hugo van der Goes, who caused a furore in Italy during the Renaissance. The entire exhibit is brutally placed under one destitute name. And he catalogue indicates that one is cognisant of this brutality. Thinking is also defined as "reducing complexity", and therefore those responsible at the Städel were simply thinking, and while do so they reserved a few masterpieces for themselves. Rainer Metzger Städel Museum 60596 Frankfurt am Main, Dürerstrasse 2, until 22.02.2009 www.staedelmuseum.de

Städelmuseum Frankfurt
60596 Frankfurt / Main, Dürerstr. 2
Tel: +49-69-605 098-0, Fax: +49-69-610 163
Email: info@staedelmuseum.de
Öffnungszeiten: Di, Fr - So 10 - 17 h, Mi - Do 10 - 21 h

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