The Members of the Guild of the Large Crossbow of Malines
Master of the Guild of Saint George
174.0 cm x 105.0 cm x 0.0 cm
Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
Category B: Southern Low Countries
15th century Portraits
In the middle of two groups of kneeling guild members, three saints are to be noticed (executed on a larger scale): a speaking abbot with cross staff and black chasuble, probably Saint Libertus, disciple of Malines’s patron saint Rumoldus (Rombout); the latter is found in bishop’s ornament with crook staff and cope on the opposing side. This saint functions here as a patron of the guild. He bears the features of Philip the Handsome; the princess with the lamb in the background possesses the physiognomy of his spouse, Joanna of Castile. More to the right, one sees a royal couple, at the entrance of a small castle, watching the events; they are, according to the legend, the parents of the princess, who was saved by Saint George.
On the left side, sixteen archers are kneeling, with hands folded in prayer or reverence (for their patron). On the front row, the guild king is recognisable by the golden necklace, equipped with the arms of Malines, the guild’s banner, the crossbow insignia and the pendant (a flying bird, also visible in the upper-right corner of the Archer’s Fest of the Master of Frankfurt). Next to him, two persons are kneeling, of which one is in a red mantle, with the archer’s insignia (a plant with three crossbows amongst its roots) that the other one bears on his sleeve in white embroidery.
To the right side, there are also fourteen guild members, accompanied by three other personages. The landscape on the background is that of Malines and environs.