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Brunswick Monogrammist

Active between 1560 and 1570

The identity of this painter has been derived from an archetypal painting in the custody of the Brunswick Museum, entitled “The Poor Man’s Dinner” and illustrating the parable of the Last Supper. The corpus of works gathered together on the basis of their apparent links with this Brunswick major work consists mainly in paintings showing full-length small scale figures. These may have a religious background, but more generally genre-like settings including artless, naive brothel scenes.

Jan Sander, named Jan van Hemessen was the author of a “Merry Company”, a painting on wood pannel in the custody of the Karlsruhe Museum. Sanders’s “Merry Company”, being a brothel scene, a number of likewise suggestive paintings by the Brunswick Monogrammatist have consequently been attributed to the Sander/van Hemessen corpus. Carel van Mander and a certain number of Antwerpan documents have in a like manner attributed works by the Brunswick Monogrammist to other artists, viz. Jan van Amstel. The varied languishing stances of his figures, the light colours of his palette, the strong painter’s personality at work behind subject and brushstroke indicate that the Brunswick Monogrammist was an artiste who definitely foreshadowed Pieter Brueghel.