Rachel Billinge and Lorne Campbell
Technical Bulletin Volume 24, 2003
Goossen (Goswijn) van der Weyden was the grandson of Rogier van der Weyden. The younger van der Weyden's technique is presented as typical for late 15th-century/early 16th-century Flemish paintings. This article focuses on the discovery, by infrared reflectography and x-radiography, of overpainted coats of arms on the reverse of the altarpiece wings of the triptych 'Saint Catherine and the Philosophers'. One set of arms was painted over a solid paint layer. This solid paint layer was painted directly on the panel and not on a preparation layer. This practice is not consistent with the van der Weyden workshops. Thus, it may be interpreted as not original. The second coat of arms was painted at a much later time. In cross-sections, intermediate layers of surface coatings and dirt are identified along with a layer of white paint.
While the original patron of the work has not been identified, the earlier coat of arms have been identified as belonging to St John's College, Oxford, and the later coat of arms to the Herne family, which was associated with St John's in the early 17th century. The authors conclude that the painting was given to St John's when the college was founded in 1555 and that the repainting of the altarpiece with white paint occurred during a period of intolerance for religious imagery.
art history, Flemish, infrared reflectography, late medieval, overpaint, paint layers, painting techniques, panel paintings, radiography, triptychs, van der Weyden
To cite this article we suggest using
Billinge, R., Campbell, L. 'The Triptych of "Saint Catherine and the Philosophers" attributed to Goossen van der Weyden in Southampton City Art Gallery'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 24, pp 64–74.
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