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VMs: Ad-hoc castles research

Today my wife and I visited 's-Hertogenbosch - The Netherlands and we also
went to the exhibition "Pictures of Christ's passion in Dutch art 1450-1900"
(bad translation). I hoped this would enhance my religious awareness of the
current Easter days. But instead of looking at the figure of Christ I spent
all the time looking at the little mountains and cities in the background
while searching for castles, spires and walls. I'm no art expert, but some
observations might be relevant to the VMS:

1) None of the background-cities had those V-shaped incisions in the
crennelations (is that the right word?) of their walls - not one! All had
the simple rectagular waveform. Can we conclude that the VMS author had
nothing to do with Flanders or the Netherlands?

2) Most painters placed their own city in the background. This made the
Bible stories more realistic. The real cities that are depicted are all from
the Netherlands and the details are non-VMS. However the general "look and
feel" is VMS. Our author might have been inspired by the general culture of
"tiny cities in the background of religious representations" and his
drawings in the VMS seem to resonate with this culture. Examples:
- Pieter Breughel de Jonge - The crucifixion - Antwerp, 1600-1610 -
Mountains, walls, spires
- Illustrated Print-bible - Antwerp - 1646 - A very VMS-like tower with
"lightning conductors"

3) Many other painters placed an idealized city of Jerusalem in the
background. Here I was reminded of the "spire sticking out of the
recatangular hole" in our fouldout. Sometimes complete geometric Rome-like
city with stylized obelisks, pyramids and spiral columns. Sometimes just one
or two buildings with that "allegorical" feeling. Again, no exact likeness
but the same "look and feel". Examples:
- Jan Sanders van Hemessen - The entry into Jerusalem - 1540-1550
- Pieter Coecke van Aelst - Carrying of the cross and the holy Veronica -
- Ambrosius Benson (Milan - Brugge) - Lowering from the cross - 1495-1550
- Is it coincidence that these "geometric, allegoric" backgrounds are all
older ? More research necessary here ...

4) One painting had a city-gate, a wall and a road in the background. This
feels very much like the "road" that connects two of the rosettes in our
- Pieter Coecke van Aelst - Last supper - 1531

5) After 1650 I saw less detailed cities, mountains and landscapes in the
background of the paintings. The background is not "photographed" anymore
but only suggested by rough streaks of colour. The attention seemed to shift
to the foreground.

Our VMS author was definitely a part of his pictorial environment and age.
He was not a great draughtsman, but he was true to his prevailing
iconographic culture. (I will regret this definitive statement later :-)

Greetings, hope you weren''t bored,
Petr Kazil