He is a prolific, Bruges-based pupil of van der Weyden. His large altarpieces are too rigid, with stiff figures like statues. He was better at small devotional pictures (full of life, with good space) and small portraits (he learned from manuscript illuminations). He liked soft textures (his drapery has soft, not crisp, folds); soft hair; soft landscapes, and smooth, rounded, demure, idealized faces. Memling’s work is characterized by decorative rather than expressive features.
Notice his interesting skies of intense blue, melting to white on the horizon. His motifs such as garlands of fruit and flowers held by putti are borrowed from the Italian Renaissance (possibly from Mantegna).
Hans Memling’s major works are Portrait of a Man with an Arrow, c. 1470–75 (Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art); The Virgin and Child with an Angel, c. 1470–80 (London: National Gallery); Bathsheba, c. 1482 (Stuttgart: Staatsgalerie).
- Robert Cumming. Art: complete encyclopedia. – 512 p. – Moscow: Astrel, 2005.