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Annotated works

MASTER OF SAINT NICHOLAS

(Active in Burgos between 1465 and 1490)

The Resurrection of Drusiana

Oil on walnut panel

Oil on walnut panel

c. 1475

Romanesque and Gothic (12th Century - 15th Century)

N.° inv. 69/219

Donated by Mercedes Basabe, Manuel Taramona's widow, in 1943


MASTER OF SAINT NICHOLAS on Online collection

This representation, unusual in Spanish painting, focuses on an episode related by Jacobus de Voragine in The Golden Legend. Upon his return to Ephesus after his exile on Pathmos, St John the Evangelist met the funeral procession for Drusiana, one of his devout followers, and invoked God to resurrect her. Along with the other two panels by the same artist kept in this museum, this one no doubt was part of a large altarpiece dedicated to the life of the saint.

The work presents the distinctive traits of the Master of St Nicholas: the hands of the characters appear in different positions and even point to the central motif with a fore-finger; their faces are depicted from the front and reveal narrow chins, well-defined bone structures, clear complexions and peculiar almond-shaped eyes, with eyelids that droop a little and foreheads slightly knitted. Colours are bright, especially the reds and greens, and the glazes applied suggest enamelled surfaces. The artist's concern for detail is obvious in the great attention paid to the landscape in the distance and the precise rendering of the costumes and complicated pleats in the fabrics. The curly locks of hair have a certain preciosity, while the plants on the ground are minutely described, as are the assemblages of pieces of wood forming the saint's coffin.

The name given to this master, an excellent representative of Hispano-Flemish painting, derives from the altarpiece in the church of St Nicholas of Bari in Burgos, a key work in his artistic production.  [J.L.M.G.]

Selected bibliography:

Chandler Rathfon Post. A History of Spanish Painting. Cambridge; Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 1933, vol. IV, 1ª parte, p. 261, il. 90.

Carlos Antonio Arean. La pintura española : de Altamira al siglo XX. Madrid : Giner, 1971, p. 124.

Ana María Galilea Antón. Catalogación y estudio de los fondos de Pintura Española del Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao del siglo XIII al XVIII (de 1270 a 1700). [Tesis inédita]. Zaragoza : Universidad de Zaragoza, 1993, vol. I. pp. 331-335, vol. II. pp. 177 y 178, il. 109, 109a.

Ana María Galilea Antón. “La colección de Pintura Española anterior a 1700 en el Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao” en Urtekaria 1994: asterlanak, albistak = Anuario 1994: estudios, crónicas. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa, 1995, pp. 7-42.

Ana María Galilea Antón. La pintura gótica española en el Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao : catálogo. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa, 1995, pp. 316-334.

La pintura gótica hispanoflamenca : Bartolomé Bermejo y su época. [Cat. exp.]. Barcelona ; Bilbao : Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya ; Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa, 2003, pp. 396-399, n.º 55.

Jose Luis Merino Gorospe. Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao : guía. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa, 2011 (1ª ed. 2006; ed. inglés; ed. francés; ed. euskera), p. 20, n.º 9, ad vocem.

Annotated works