A Female Saint Reading
17 cm x 16.1 cm (6 11/16 in. x 6 5/16 in.)
Circle of Hugo van der Goes
(1430/1440 - 1482)
Medium and Support:
Pen and black ink with white heightening on pink prepared paper
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
Hugo was the principal Flemish painter of the second half of the century, his style characterized by an expressive tension between plastic form and linear design, a searching observation of reality, and a compelling suggestion of emotion. His style of drawing was hardly less characterized, or influential, with a sensitiv-ity and a differentiation of vocabulary unprecedented in the North. While no sheet is certainly ascribed to him, there is a fair number of drawings by followers that are cognate with his style and with one another. This drawing is an impor-tant example, corresponding to a recurring motif in paintings by followers, for example the Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints by the Master of 1499 at Richmond, and sharing its elaborate technique with several other drawings. The tendency toward a lower viewpoint for the upper half of the figure, a higher one for the areas of drapery, and the forward, almost unbalancing center of the fig-ure’s gravity are, however, close to the habits of the mature Hugo, uncommon in the more regular works of most followers, and indicative of an early date.