A superb painting by Hans Memling arrives at the Uffizi, granted on loan by the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid in exchange for Ghirlandaio’s Adoration of the Magi loaned by the Uffizi for the exhibition “Ghirlandaio and Renaissance Florence”. It is the Portrait of a Young Man Praying, one of the most famous and best-preserved paintings by the great Flemish artist. The exhibition aims to compare the painting from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum with the paintings by Hans Memling present in the Uffizi’s collection.
Hans Memling was a leading painter of the second half of the fifteenth century.
The painting was probability originally part of a triptych, with an image of the Virgin and Child in the centre. The theory of the existence of a central panel showing the Virgin and Child is further strengthened by the splendid Still Life painted on the rear of the portrait, showing flowers in a jug decorated with the monogram of Christ.
The sitter has not yet been identified but his clothes and hairstyle suggest that he may have been an Italian patron. Memling’s portraits, which were considered one of the artist’s specialities, were particularly appreciated by the numerous Italians resident in Bruges, who played a leading role in the economic and commercial life of the city. For a while, the critics have stressed the influence of Hans Memling’s acute naturalism on Florentine portraiture towards the end of the fifteenth and the dawn of the sixteenth century.
The collaboration between the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Uffizi Gallery have made this exhibition possible and on the occasion of this exchange, the numerous works by Memling present in the collections of the Gallery have been brought together.
Hans Memling. Portrait of a young man praying from the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
22 June – 10 October 2010
Exhibition curated by Angelo Tartuferi
Exhibition catalogue: Brochure no. 48 in the Uffizi Study and Research series (only in Italian)
Thyssen Bornemisza Collection, Galleria degli Uffizi