Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

A Westphalian painter, who in 1465 executed an altar-piece of note in the Benedictine monastery of Liesborn, founded by Charlemagne. His name is not mentioned by the historian of the monastery, who, however, declares that the Greeks would have looked on him as an artist of the first rank. Even in the fourteenth century the Cologne school of painting found a rival in Westphalia, and in the fifteenth century the latter could oppose the great Liesborn painter to Stephen Lochner. These two have something in common with each other and with the Van Eycks in Flanders, and both in their work rather reflect the past than look into the future. On the suppression of the monastery in 1807, the chef d'oeuvre of the Westphalian artist was unfortunately sold, divided into parts, and thus scattered. The principal parts, some of these purely fragmentary, are now to be found in the National Gallery of London, in the Muenster Museum, and in private hands. A fair idea of the altar-piece may be formed from a copy in a church at Luenen. The altar had not folding wings the painting being placed side by side on a long panel. in the centre was the Redeemer on the Cross, while Mary stood on one side with Cosmas and Damian, and on the other John, Scholastica, and Benedict. Four angels caught the blood which poured from the wounds. The touchingly beautiful head of the Saviour is still preserved, as are the busts of the saints whose countenances are so full of character and nobility, and several angels with golden chalices. The background is also golden. Four scenes chosen from Sacred History were reproduced on the sides.

The painting of the Annunciation represents a double apartment with vaulted ceiling, the front room being represented as an oratory and the other as a sleeping chamber: the marble floor, the damask curtains which surround the bed, a wardrobe, a bench some vases, and writing material,all are carefully drawn and with due regard for perspective; the arched doorway and the partition wall are adorned with figures of Prophets and Christ, and a representation of the world. The window looks out on a landscape. The Blessed Virgin, clad in a blue mantle over a robe of gold brocade, is seen in the front room turning from her prie-dieu towards the angel, who, richly robed and bearing in his left hand a sceptre, delivers his greeting. Of the Nativity group, there still remain five beautiful angels, who kneel on the ground around the effulgent form of the Child: there also remain two busts of male figures which were probably part of this scene. Of the "Adoration of the Magi" there is but one fragment left. The "Presentation in the Temple" shows a venerable priest, to whom the Mother presents her Child laid on a white cloth: three witnesses surround the priest, while the mother is attended by two maidservants carrying the doves. Several panels have been lost. The Liesborn artist is not as skilfully realistic as van Eyck, but his genius for delineation becomes quite apparent when one observes the nobility of expression about the mouths of his figures, the almond-shaped eyes, the loose curly hair, and the natural folds of the garments. But his most characteristic claim to fame lies in the purity of his taste and in his ideal conception of a sacred subject. The great master's influence is evident in other works, but no second work cam be attributed directly to him.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:12-22
12 do not forget, I say, that you were at that time ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
9 His saving help is near for those who fear him, his ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:35-38
35 'See that you have your belts done up and your ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 21st, 2014 Image

St. Hilarion
October 21: Abbot and disciple of St. Anthony the Great, companion of St. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter