Learn about Hugo van der Goes in Art History, View His Art and Famous Paintings.


"The Adoration of the Kings”, van der Goes, 1470

Hugo van der Goes, 1440-1482, a famous Dutch master artist in art history painted his most famous painting, the "Portinari Altarpiece", in 1476. Title: Not a great deal is known about his art. He was a student of Rogier van der Wyden and used three-dimensional atmospheric effects similar to the paintings of Jan van Eyck.

van der Goes did not paint a true diminishing perspective with figures getting smaller the farther back one goes into space. The figures are sized according to their importance in real life. He painted three fine receding landscapes with atmospheric perspective, but the eye of the viewer stays in the foreground confused unable to receed into the background because of disproportionate figure sizes.

Mary and Joseph are too large in comparison to neighboring figures, but are in true scale with the architecture behind them. The angels are smaller than Mary and Joseph, but slightly larger than the patron saints, that are larger than the Portinari family. Van der Goes painted with reality in rendering details of the landscapes, but paints with unreality regarding the figures and floating angels.

van der Goes had many fits of depression and his early death is attributed to Suicide.

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