Under-twisted Mirror of Derick Baegert

I was planning to write about another mirror of Memling, but as often happens, things went off curve. Well, not completely off, since Derick Baegert (1440 – 1502) is also a German artist, and this painting is also about St.Mary Mirror – although in a very different context.

Derick Baegert was a native of Wesel, now quite a small German town, but at his time a large center of manufacturing and commerce, competing by importance with Cologne. Fortunately, the master and his workshop made their works not only for the churches and monasteries of Wesel, but also carried out the orders from Dortmund and even Cologne, and many other locations North Rhine-Westphalia.

“Fortunately,” because Wesel was almost completely ruined by the Allies during air raids at the end of the World War II (apparently, 97% of the city buildings had been destroyed. No known works of Baegert that had been in the city at this moment survived; but some of his works had already been in various museums, like a few paintings in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, for example.

The look & feel of his works in the Thyssen-Bornemisza resembles the one Bosch, and indeed it is known that Baegert did travel to the Low Lands, to Utrecht and most likely to Den Bosch too. Yet his style remains to be distinctively Gothic.

However, this particular is quite different from other works Baegert; it rather resembles the panels of Campina of van der Weyden. Indeed, it appears to be that this is a copy, of an altarpiece by Robert Campina, made by Baegert and the members of his workshop; the original has not survived, so this piece has a double value then.

The description says that the above panel with St.Luke and St.mary is “an exact replica of the central part of the triptych by Robert Campina” (and indeed, we see both many individual items and the total composition and lighting in many paintings by Campina).

For a while, I had only this copy of this work (see below), much more lighter and colder; and I didn’t know it belonged to the triptych:

This colder copy makes the the feeling much less similar to usually warmer Campin. But even in a more accurate version (above) I could spot somewhat more melodramatic faces that usually made by Campin.

There is a very good description of many objects and details depicted here, so I skip the factual description for a moment.

Speakin about the mirror:

What I can say judging by the reproduction I have:

– We do see the mirror here;
– It’s a convex one;
– It hangs on the column between two windows
(very similar to the Mälesskircher’s altar);
– It would most likely collide with the window shutters
(similar to the Nieuwenhove alter by Memling)

– It does shows something, that is, we see something reflected there: perhaps, it is same group of people as in the foreground picture (i.e., St. Luke and St. Mary, maybe be even the Child Christ (?), and perhaps someone else, too (like in the other work by Robert Campina).

So, some patterns apparently do emerge from these ‘comparative studies’.

It would be great if there would be also a mirror at the painting that St. Luke creates at this very moment! (I added it there, as a small blue dot). If it would happen, it would be one of the most complex – and clever – mirror loops in the art, not only of the early Renaissance.


PS: I later found another triptych attributed to Derick Baegert and his workshop that I assume also has a mirror; I write about this in Mirror-like Thingies by the St. Maria’s Pillow.


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