Hans Memling in Brugge

“The Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine“, Triptych by Hans Memling (1479), in Brugge Cathedral, Belgium.

..[T]he Memling Museum [is] housed in the former Hospital of Saint John. The hospital functioned from the 13th century onwards, and much of the museum’s collection is devoted to illustrating its history. Sixteenth century surgery tools used at the hospital are particularly chilling to behold, especially those used for “trepanation.” So far as I was able to gather, this practice involved cutting a circular hole in the skull of a patient in order to help alleviate their suffering.

The museum also houses a fantastic collection of paintings by Hans Memling. My favorite was the triptych depicting the Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine.

The center frame centers around the figures of the Virgin and Child, with Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist looking on from the left and right respectively. In the foreground, Saint Catherine (denoted by her attributes of the wheel and sword) and Saint Barbara (denoted by her tower) kneel before the Virgin. The Christ Child is placing a ring on the finger of Saint Catherine to seal their symbolic marriage.

In the right-hand portion of the triptych, Saint John the Evangelist’s apocalyptic vision on the isle of Padmos is depicted.

In the image to the immediate left, the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse are visible, as the lamb unseals the Book of Plagues and looses the final judgement on man.

The lower image shows Saint John at repose in the lower portion of the panel.

via Brugge.



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