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The Nativity at Night
Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

The Nativity at Night possibly about 1490

Geertgen tot Sint Jans (c.1460–c.1490)

The National Gallery, London

(b ?Leiden, ?c.1460; d ?Haarlem, ?c.1490). Netherlandish painter, active in Haarlem, where he was the outstanding artist of his day. Almost nothing is known of his career, but van Mander says that he was a pupil of Ouwater and that he died when he was about 28. His name means ‘Little Gerard of the Brethren of St John’, after the Order in Haarlem of which he was a lay brother. For the monastery church of the Brethren he painted his only documented work, a triptych of the Crucifixion, of which two large panels (originally two sides of a wing) survive (KH Mus., Vienna): the Lamentation of Christ and the Burning of the Bones of St John the Baptist. Certain features of these paintings—particularly the slender, doll-like figures with smooth, rather egg-like heads—are highly distinctive, and a small oeuvre of about fifteen paintings has been attributed to Geertgen on stylistic grounds.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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