Early Netherlandish Painting: From Van Eyck to Bruegel

By Max J. Friedlænder | Go to book overview

JOACHIM DE PATENIER

IN van Mander's scanty account of Joachim de Patenier we find two statements that seem to be erroneous. The place of his birth is given as Dinant. But Guicciardini, who is more reliable, calls the painter ' Giovacchino di Pattenier di Bouines'. Whereas van Mander gives Bouvignes as the birthplace of Herri met de Bles, Guicciardini speaks of ' Henrico da Dinant'. Bouvignes and Dinant lie close together on opposite banks of the river Meuse.

According to van Mander, Patenier entered the Antwerp guild in 1535--which is incorrect. The correct date is 1515. The wrong date is not due to a slip of the pen. In his first edition van Mander wrote quite correctly 1515 but in the list of errata altered it to 1535 and repeated 1535 in his second edition. In 1535 a Patenier was in fact entered as master in the Antwerp guild, namely a Herri Patenier.

These strangely fluctuating dates encourage us to accept the hypothesis that Herri met de Bles is identical with Herri Patenier. On the one hand we find Joachim's birthplace confused with that of Herri met de Bles, on the other hand the date that is correct for Herri Patenier is applied to Joachim. Some person who could not distinguish between the two painters named Patenier may have supplied van Mander with the wrong date and perhaps at the same time given the wrong place. The deduction assumes some importance for Herri met de Bles, who, if he really was called Patenier, may have been a relation (perhaps a nephew-- Joachim does not seem to have had sons) of the older artist. Failing other dates it would be important to establish that Herri became master in Antwerp in 1535. In the engraved portrait the 'painter with the owl' looks about fifty. Judging by the costume the portrait can hardly have been done before 1560. So that Herri does not seem to have been born before 1510 and in 1535 would not have been older than twenty-five.

As regards Joachim, the question: Dinant or Bouvignes is of no consequence.

This master died in 1524. In 1521 Dürer made a silver-point drawing of him. Patenier's portrait engraved by Cort is obviously based on Dürer's drawing. The painter looks about forty-five. If he was born in

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