Lecture: 'The donor portrait in early Netherlandish painting'

Johanna Scheel (Universität Frankfurt) is the last speaker of the fall 2013 lectures of the Flemish Research Centre for the Arts in the Burgundian Netherlands.

The donor portrait in early Netherlandish painting. Emotional strategies of seeing and self-knowledge

Early Netherlandish painting reinvented the donor portrait. Donors are given a new position, meaning and rank in the image; they now come forth and take their place as protagonists in the composition. They equal the holy personnel in everything but in facial expressions.This creates a curious paradox that has seldom been discussed: On the one hand, the display of emotions in religious paintings constitutes an important factor in the beholder's empathic reception of the image during prayer and devotion. Yet here, the donor who could be a perfect role model seems to negate this identification with the viewer because of his emotionless expression. This paper investigates this paradox and poses the question whether there is a particular function of the donor portrait for the praying beholder in the context of the religious painting.


When: 5 December 15.00
Where: Vriendenzaal Musea Brugge, Dijver 12, 8000 Bruges
Price: No charge
More info: Flemish Research Centre for the Arts in the Burgundian Netherlands
Attention: The language of delivery for this lecture is English.

(News item 21 November 2013)