Painter/Artist: Dirk Bouts

Early Netherlandish School. His masterpiece is the altar in the Church of St. Pierre at Louvain, painted in 1467, of which the four panels at Berlin and Munich, noticed below, are the wings.


THE LEGEND OF OTHO. Two large panels. On the one is the Emperor Otho III. ordering the decapitation of a nobleman on the false accusation of the Empress. On the other the widow of the victim submits to the ordeal of the hot iron, and thereby proclaims her husband’s innocence before the Emperor, who, convinced by the miracle, makes reparation for his wrong sentence by handing over the Empress to the widow, who has her burnt alive.

These are two out of four panels commissioned by the Magistrate of Louvain in 1868, and painted between 1470 and 1475, the year of the painter’s death.


THE FEAST OF THE PASSOVER. Four men and two women standing at a small square table covered with a white cloth in a room floored with small tiles. Two of the men are on the left side, a man and a woman on the right, while behind the table is the master of the house cutting up the lamb,which is laid on a large dish, and at his left side is a young woman raising a morsel to her mouth. All except the master carry staves; all the men except the one on the right are hatted, and the two women have white turbans.

THE PROPHET ELIAS IN THE WILDERNESS In the foreground of a rocky landscape the prophet, in a dark green robe and crimson cloak, reclines asleep on his right elbow, while an angel in a long white robe descending from above lays her right hand on his left shoulder.


MELCHISEDEK AND ABRAHAM In the foreground are Melchisedek, kneeling, and Abraham, in fifteenthcentury armour and cloak, half kneeling, facing each other, the former holding out bread and wine, the latter reaching out his left hand and pressing his right to his head. On the left is another kneeling figure and two men standing behind him, and on the right behind Abraham is his page, while in the background his retinue fills a road on the right, and on the left is a city with a Gothic cathedral.

THE MANNA In the foreground of a mountainous landscape a man in a blue robe and a young woman in a golden red dress kneel facing each other, engaged in picking the manna off the ground and putting it in jugs. Beyond them in the centre is another man similarly engaged, while on the left stands another woman with a little boy. Several smaller figures are seen in the background.