The Final Moments of Lucas van Leyden

Josef Mánes

Josef Mánes - The Final Moments of Lucas van Leyden
As a young student at the Academy Mánes exhibited the picture of the dying Netherlandish painter Lucas van Leyden (1494-1533) at a Prague exhibition in 1843. Peter von Cornelius chose the same subject in 1826-1827 in sketches for frescoes, today at the Alte Pinakotheke in Munich, only completed in 1844. Mánes probably knew them from graphic reproductions. Although the composition of the two works is different both painters emphasized Lucas's industry (a painter's easel with an unfinished picture in the background). They found the motif in a 1604 text by the Dutch Renaissance thinker and critic Carl van Mander, who described the dying artist's last hours and his fervent wish once more "to behold the heavenly expanse of the sky". The text mentions other people seen in the painting: the painter's daughter - a weeping young girl with her back to the viewer, who not long ago had given birth to a boy, the nanny with the child glimpsed in the house; the woman in red is probably the painter's wife, while the man, to judge by his robes, is a physician. Lucas's face, as mentioned in a later note on the study of Lucas's head, belonged to Mosner, Mánes's colleague from the Academy, who was his model. For his setting Mánes used his sketches from Kutná Hora - at the back we see the historical Stone House. The meticulous painting, done with great sensitivity and unfailing hand, depicts the highly emotional scene in the warm tones of sunset.
measurements: height 46 cm
width 60,5 cm
material: canvas
technique: oil
inventory number: O 5223
gallery collection: Collection of 19th Century Art and Classical Modernism