Saturday, March 30, 2019


There is so much we still dont know about Art and Connoisseurship.
Paintings are attributed incorrectly all the time; we say this is a Leonardo and that is a Modigliani or a Corot, and often, we dont know.
If not often, then more than rarely.
There is actually a boat load of debate about a LOT of what you thought you had learned or knew.
It has become almost a parlor game to re-attribute works of Art, even "famous" ones (perhaps they are famous because of the mis-attribution instead of their inherent exqusiteness? Hmmmm.)
One exquisite example is the exquisite Art of the exquisite anonymous painter (or painters) of the Female half-lengths.
The Master of the Female Half-Lengths.
Who was she? or he? Or they?
I have been enamored of these paintings for years.
Whoever - she/he/they - was/were, they were Northern European artists who worked during the cinquencento - smack dab in the Renaissance.
Many names have been profferred, mostly in re either Jan or Hans Vereycke.
Many towns have been suggested as to where they/he/she worked, like Antwerp or Bruges, Ghent or Mechelen (the usual suspects).
Dates ranging from 1520 to 1590 have been proposed.
See how much (er, little) we know !
Calling the author "The Master of the Female Half-Lengths" is like calling a Bronzino a painting by the Master of Mannerist Firenze, if we didnt know it was by Agnolo di Cosimo.
I suppose that is better than saying "anonymous."
It is what is known in art historical parlance as a Notname.
Yes, a Notname
A Notname is not a not name, It is a word that stems from the Deutsch: Notname (German: Notname (German: [ˈnoːtˌnaːmə]
A Notname is a "necessity-name" (a  "contingency-name), in art historical terms, an invented name given to an artist whose identity has been lost.
We may Not know the Name of this Master of the Female Half-Lengths.
But she or he or they sure was/were amazing.

Three Musicians
Master of the Female Half-Lengths
c. 1530
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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