PATINIR (PATINIER), Joachim Leoni
- (c. 1480-1524)
Joachim Patinir was born in Dinant or Bouvignes in the Meuse River valley. His greatest contribution to art was his development of landscape painting as an independent subject. Patinir may have trained with the Bruges artist Gerard David, and documents tell us that he collaborated with Joos van Cleve and Quentin Massys,* who worked in Antwerp, the thriving artistic and economic center of the Netherlands in the sixteenth century. Patinir entered the painters' guild in Antwerp in 1516, which, according to the artist's biographer, the early art historian Karel van Mander, is where great painters went because "artists desire to be near wealth."In his collaborations as well as his own independent works, Patinir was primarily responsible for painting the landscape background, in which he used a three-color formula to suggest deep recession in depth: brown forms in the foreground, blue-green in the middle ground, and a light blue in the background. The artist was more concerned with depicting immense vistas and panoramic views showing the grandeur of nature than with the activity of its human inhabitants. To achieve this wide-angle view, or Weltlandschaft, the artist employed a bird's-eye view with a high horizon line, as though the viewer were standing on a mountain ledge peering out over the landscape from above. Incongruously, he showed the vertical elements in the painting—houses, trees, and figures—as though they were seen straight on, making the whole painting appear more coherent and legible to the viewer. These landscapes were not cartographic, however, but rather were constructed partly from elements in nature, from arrangements of craggy rocks brought into the studio, and were woven as a whole through the artist's imagination. Although Patinir's Landscape with Flight into Egypt borrows motifs from Gerard David's painting of the same subject in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., he was probably more influenced by the earlier Hieronymus Bosch's fantastic landscapes, particularly in his painting Charon Crossing the River Styx in Madrid.Despite his major contribution to Netherlandish-language painting, very few works remain by Patinir—only twenty are extant that are attributed to him. Of these, Philip II,* the Spanish monarch, owned four, probably some of Patinir's last works. The humanist poet Dominicus Lampsonius eulogized Patinir, noting in his poem that the great German artist Albrecht Dürer* admired Patinir's landscapes and drew a portrait of the artist.BibliographyR. L. Falkenburg, Joachim Patinir: Landscape as an Image ofthe Pilgrimage ofLife, 1988.Susan H. Jenson
Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. Jo Eldridge Carney. 2001.